Over the past few months, more has been put on our emotional radar. In addition to your day to day caregiving, the overload can create overwhelm to the point that your emotions are fried, vision blurred, and you’re not sure how to keep moving forward.
We’ve had heartfelt conversations with caregivers over the past few months during our Caregiver Retreats and Workshops. Reclaiming your personal life as a caregiver, especially now, sounds like a distant dream. The simple acts don’t seem simple anymore, and finding balance and peace of mind appears more of a task than a pleasure. Just one more thing ‘to-do.’
There’s also the guilt that surrounds taking time for pleasure. We talked about when your loved one is suffering or having a difficult day if there is a way to feel at peace with practicing a bit of self-care. The more we spoke, and shared simple techniques for support with short meditations, we saw the light in the eyes and hearts of our participants.
Participants discussed some of the things they were doing and how they’ve helped them along the way. Here are a few ideas that might help you as well:
Make connections with others to have the ability to understand what they have gone through. What is working/not working? We have more Family Caregiver Virtual Retreats and Workshops coming up that are wonderful connections!
Set boundaries with your loved one and other members of your family; discuss what you can do or might need help with. Be clear. Don’t assume that others will know what you need, and by all means, do not be ashamed to ask. You’re human, and you can’t do it all.
Nourish your mind, body, and soul. Some of our members get up two hours early to have time for coffee and reading or a walk in the neighborhood. Others take time at the end of the day to write in their journals or do a bit of reading.
In addition to day to day events, part of what you may be going through is anticipatory grief, the uncertainty of what the future holds. Laced with the uncertain feeling many of us have right now with the unknown of what storm may be around the corner, we can create a toxic environment.
It is crucial to be kind to yourself, especially now. Remember the good things that you’ve done throughout the day, say thank you when you pass the mirror and don’t let yourself go to bed with negative thoughts. Create a life preserver; however you can.
Breathe…and make time for yourself.