Making Time For Yourself As A Caregiver

Last week we talked about the issue of Siblings and Momma’s Money. A close second to the issue of money is time. As a caregiver, you may feel like you don’t have enough time in the day to get everything done. As a result, you are probably neglecting something just as important: time for yourself.

 

Concerned With Time For Yourself

Every week Family Caregivers send in questions on the Help Me Help Momma Facebook page. Recently, a Caregiver submitted the following:

How do you make time for yourself, although that’s impossible to answer. Caregivers are selfless and I’m sure without a doubt they struggle with that guilt if they do take that time. Or, how do you ASK for help with no shame or risk being judged ? How does one become vulnerable enough to ask for help?

This is a great question. Taking time for yourself is necessary, but many caregivers feel guilty if they take time off to care for themselves. They are wired that way. It’s like the guilt is heightened because, as Caregivers, we are so emotionally invested in ensuring that each day our Loved One has a moment of joy. Even if they no longer recognize anyone in the room.

Feeling The Need To Do So Much With No Time For Yourself

You want so much to make them comfortable even though you know they often are in pain or distress because of their decline. You do everything you can to help them find pleasure in the simple things. For example, my Momma found joy in shelling pound after pound of cracked pecans. Shelling those pecans made her smile… Her smile gave me such a great sense of peace and comfort. Yes, it is hard to be a Caregiver. You want to be there every second to make certain that everything is right for your Loved One. I get that. I did that. Momma had everything she needed. I was highly focused on making sure of that. She was clean, comfortable, had good meals and her favorite ice cream.

We went to doctors, did her therapy at home, put together many, many photo albums, worked on her exercises, used the breathing tubes for extra therapy – and still I felt like it wasn’t enough. I felt like I should be doing more to help her get stronger so she could get back out in her garden next spring. I second guessed myself and doubted my choices for her. Even though I was doing a lot for Momma, I felt it just wasn’t enough. I could do better – I wasn’t doing enough.

Permission To Take Time For Yourself

In truth, I was a stressed out Caregiver and I didn’t realize it. One day a friend of mine, Tina, got up in my face and said “you need some help caring for your Momma!” I realize now how relieved I was to hear her say that. It seemed like a weight was lifted from my shoulders. I didn’t have to do this all by myself. Furthermore, I now had permission to take care of myself. I’ve got to tell you that I cried tears of relief that night.

You are a Caregiver. That’s who you are. It is such an amazing thing that you are doing for your Loved One – giving your time, your energy, your love and your respect to this person who means so much to you. Now I want you to do one more thing for them – take a break – an hour, a day, a week, whatever you need – for you. Take a break, and do not feel guilty for replenishing your energy, your mind and your soul. You have earned it.

You never know when the next day is going to be the last day, so give it a hundred percent, but stop and take time for yourself.

 

Click to download our Free Tip Sheet called,
Cindy’s 5 Tips To Prevent Caregiver Burnout

We hope that you take the actions necessary to stay on top of your game.

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