Our days can go by so quickly with to-dos and the never-ending Ferris Wheel of appointments. It is so easy to focus on your loved one and forget about the importance of self-care.
Scanning through family caregiver comments after a seminar, the top comment was "I don't take the time to care for myself". I sigh as I type. I get it, I was there. I know how difficult or really how guilt-feeling it can be to take time out for yourself. And the excuses...I know them all. I do.
I also hear the results from not doing so when I hear from caregivers in our private group on Facebook that reach out to me. "I can't think straight", "I'm so tired", "I can't possibly ask someone to stay with my husband while I go out....", "I keep getting headaches....".
Ummmmmm.....do you see a pattern here? If you don't step away from the middle of the day-to-day stress even for a short period of time to replenish your own soul it will kill you. In one way or another, it will. "Family caregivers experiencing extreme stress have been shown to age prematurely. This level of stress can take as much as 10 years off a family caregiver's life." ~Elissa S. Epel, Dept of Psychiatry, Univ of Calif.
Do something for yourself.....walk for 30 minutes, have lunch with a friend, take a few minutes to do a mini massage. Here's a great way to do so that I found in this article: "The Quickest Way to Eliminate Tension." Those work by the way...try them!
Anyone, whether you are a current family caregiver or experiencing the grief of losing your loved one really needs to find time to do self-care. Please, find the time.
Be kind and gentle with yourself.