Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Standing up for yourself

One of the toughest things about being a caregiver is that you can find yourself spread too thin. You care for mom, you care for dad, you care for your spouse (or you care for young children at home); and as you run out of hours in the day you begin to skip the caring-for-yourself part.You wonder when was the last time you sat down and ate a meal at a quiet, leisurely pace (while the food was hot, or at least mostly warm), or when you had your last haircut, or went to a movie, or had a cup of coffee out with a friend or your spouse.

If you care for someone in your home, even sitting down to read a book and relax can be interpreted by the one you care for as "available" time for them to interrupt.

All of us need some down time to think and regroup. Or just to NOT think; just to do nothing. For me, reading is an escape, and sometimes I desperately need that time to get away, at least in my mind. It's just for a little while, but it does wonders for my spirit.

And when I can't manage the time to read or relax, it wreaks havoc on that same spirit.

I was just reading Carol Bursack's article "Minding Our Elders and Living Through It: A Caregiver's Journey." Carol's words about taking care of the caregiver really spoke to me.

And sometimes you just have to practice standing up for yourself. Take some time off, draw a boundary, get away, do things just for yourself.

We're not being selfish. We're helping ourselves, which enables us to remain healthy and continue caring for those we love.

Here's Carol's article if you'd like to read more.

Caregiver at Home

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