This quote from Topher Kearby caught my eye, and I want to share it with all of you.
"Never be ashamed to say….I'm worn out. I need some time for myself. That's not being selfish; that's not being weak. That's being human."
This question of how caregivers can take care of themselves is something that I have been trying to figure out for a very long time. When one is so busy with the needs of the person one is caring for, there is not a lot of extra time to devote to oneself and their physical and mental health.
I remember, when I was taking care of my husband, how many people would ask me:
"Ellie …and how are you doing??? "
"Ellie, are you taking care of yourself???"
And I wondered, what is the answer to that question?
Here I was, facing an ongoing medical problem with my husband, who no longer made any decisions for himself. I did everything, and that was not easy.
NO..I was not OK
NO…I was not taking care of myself…
Who had the time or the energy to "take care of myself??"
I remember being very tired most of the time.
So, in this newsletter, I want to give you some good ideas on taking care of yourselves and how to factor in some time off and some recovery time.
Here are some thoughts for CAREGIVERS: whether you can carve out 5 minutes or an hour, please give some thoughts to trying one or more of these suggestions.
1 - Time: Carve out the time for your respite: view it as an appointment you cannot miss and put it on your calendar (of course, an emergency can change this appointment, but it is a good tool to start with)
2 - Mediation: there is an app called CALM available It is offered for 7 days free as a trial and then has a basic membership of $5.83 per month. It is very easy to find, and signing up is swift and not at all complicated.
3 - Coloring Books: I love to color!! I have always loved to color!! Now, as an adult, it seems that many thousands of people also love to color as there is a huge marketplace for coloring. Coloring books and basic-colored pencils, crayons, and multi-colored sharpies are available everywhere and easy to find.
This is a great activity to do, especially when the person you are caring for is taking a nap, because you can just concentrate on the coloring, which calms your brain.
4 - Walking: it is often hard to get outside during the day, so perhaps a 10-minute walk all around the inside of your home or apartment is helpful. It also helps with your breathing:
breathe in; breath out…keep walking.
If you can go outside, that is really good.
5 - Music: put on your headphones, sit quietly, close your eyes, and listen. By the way, music is very calming for Dementia patients, so that is something you can do together, and it does not require any activity on your part other than listening.
6 - Read a book…..I found it very hard to concentrate on a book during my caregiving days, and I am a devoted reader, so pick a book that is interesting but doesn't require a huge amount of intellectual input… it's just easier on your brain!!!
7 - Netflix..movies are fun, and you can stop them whenever you need to and pick up at your next break.
8 - Knitting..also very calming if you are a knitter!!
There are many, many more ways to try and get some much-needed time for yourselves; these are just some of the ways I found I could calm myself and keep my blood pressure at a reasonable rate. And of course, you can always call me, Ellie, to talk….
Call to schedule a complimentary call to discuss your needs.