There never seems to be enough hours in the day. If you are a caregiver, you know this better than anyone, for your schedule is not your own. Yet, I have heard many of my elderly clients say, “You must make the time because it is important to your well-being.” Here are some suggestions I have learned along the way that might bring some “oxygen” to your life, so you can breathe again.
- You’re all you’ve got! Make dates with your spouse and children to keep your sanity in check, and the bonds of relationships fresh. This is imperative, so make yourself a promise to do this.
- Rest and replenish, even if you have to steal private moments in the backyard, in prayer or meditation, or just sitting.
- If you are experiencing guilt, anger, jealousy, resentment, etc., seek the assistance of close friends, a counselor, your minister or rabbi. Realize that most of what you are feeling is perfectly normal. Know when to seek professional help, if you become depressed, anxious, or experience feelings that are not normal.
- Combat depression by finding time to engage in an activity that brings you pleasure — a walk with your children or grandchildren, writing in your journal, getting out to shop for 2 or 3 hours. Respite care is available in many communities, just so you can rest from caregiving.
- Pay attention to these things: sleeping, nutrition, exercise. Eat as well as you can; snack on fruits (natural pick-me-up) and granola bars, plus plenty of water. The brain is less tired when hydrated and your organs love it too. Sleep is one of the first things we miss in stressful situations. Instead of relying on sleep aids, try listening to soothing music, curling up with a good book, and cutting down on caffeine.
- If your loved one is napping, pop a yoga DVD into the TV and do some stretching; very invigorating. Better yet, if you can get away for an hour, go get a massage.
- Listen to music during the day, preferably easy listening, classical, or other calming music.
- Spiritual self-care: make time for reflection and spend time with nature. Stay connected to your faith-based organization, or consider joining one. Be open to inspiration that will come from others. Surround yourself with kind and loving people.
© 2012 Julie Hall