Do you find yourself in a position of caring for someone close to you -maybe a parent, spouse, close friend, family member or someone else???
Did you ever anticipate the challenges and emotional roller coaster you might experience along this journey???
Are there people around you offering opinions (solicited or unsolicited) about what you should do???
So how is this affecting your quality of life???
There is recognition of the toll Care-giving has on individuals and it is now referred to as “Compassion Fatigue” -the “cost of caring” for others (Figley). It is the profound emotional and physical erosion that happens when individuals are unable to refuel and regenerate.
Some of the symptoms include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling discouraged about the world
- Exhaustion and irritability
So what can you do to look after yourself???
THERE ARE SIMPLE THINGS YOU CAN DO – TO PROVIDE YOU OWN SELF CARE
It is important to find something that you can do each and every day – YES every day.
I am currently studying Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and from experience have come to experience the positive affects of mindfulness and daily meditation.
BUT you might say I truly do not have the time. I recognize that people have busy lives and the emotional demands of being a caregiver can be overwhelming at times.
Having said that I recommend that you find something that nourishes your soul. If it is going to work it has to be doable. It could be enjoying a cup of coffee or tea, where you can relax for 15 minutes and just enjoy!! Maybe it is a walk or bike ride – fresh air and nature seem to have a positive effect on mood. Or perhaps reading a book or listening to music. It might be going to the gym, joining a yoga class or meditating. Whatever works for you!!
Remember, laughter is the best medicine (there is scientific evidence to support this). What did it feel like the last time you had a good belly laugh??
It really does not matter what it is BUT something that you can loook forward to each day. Something that is just for you. Something that nourishes your soul so you can continue on with that important role as caregiver.
And remember to surround yourself with supportive positive people. Don’t think you have to do it on your own.
If things are feeling too overwhelming it would be a good idea to talk to your physician or a counsellor.
Always remember how important it is to look after yourself, the caregiver.