Well, sure, of course, you are. You’re worried, worn-out, weathered. You may also be way over your limit in terms of what you’re doing. Take our quick quiz to find out how much you are over on your load.
1. It’s the fifth time you must take your caree to the doctor this month. You’re not sure how you’re going to manage to pick up your caree, get to the doctor, take your caree home–and all during your lunch hour from work.
a. You ask your sister to take the day off and accompany your mom. You call your sister five times the night before and six times the morning of the appointment to make sure she’ll remember to pick up your mom. By 11 a.m., you’re so exhausted from worrying you fall asleep in your cube and wake up three hours later–but only because your boss is shaking you, hard, by the shoulders.
b. You run out of the office at 11:30, drive home, get your caree, arrive at the doctor’s office, wait, accompany your caree into the appointment (but forget to ask your questions because you’re too busy watching the clock), schedule a follow-up appointment with the nurse on your way out, then breathe a sigh of relief as you realize you’ll just make it back to the office on time after dropping off your caree at home. “That wasn’t too bad,” you turn and say to your caree. Horror fills you: The passenger in your car has white hair but that isn’t your caree!
c. You call the home care agency and arrange for a home health aide to bring your caree. You call the doctor’s office, find out if the doctor is running behind schedule (surprise!, he is), explain to the office nurse that a home health aide will be accompanying your mother today, and then schedule a time tomorrow to speak with the doctor about the appointment. You then call home and update the aide on the status of the appointment.
2. Your out-of-town brother calls and says: “I took a week off work to come stay with Grandpa so you can get away.” After you pick yourself up from the floor:
a. You book a hotel room five minutes from home. You know your brother will need your help.
b. You tell him: “I don’t need a week off. Thanks, but that’s not necessary.”
c. Spend one day acclimating your brother to your caree’s needs and routines. Then, you hit the highway: You’ve been dreaming (and planning) about such a road trip for months.
3. A good friend invites you to dinner and a movie (his treat). During the movie (the one you’ve been dying to see):
a. You excuse yourself every 20 minutes to call home and make sure all is okay with your caree.
b. You sleep. You snore so loudly you wake yourself up.
c. You enjoy. Afterward, you invite your friend out for dessert–your treat.
4. You invite your caree’s best friend, Pat, for dinner.
a. You worry so much about how Pat will react to your caree’s change in condition that you hover over the two of them, so much so that Pat finally loudly whispers to your caree, “How do you get any privacy around here?”
b. You serve your caree’s pureed meal to your caree–and Pat. You don’t realize this until you clear the dishes.
c. Make a simple meal and then excuse yourself; you’ve rented a good movie to enjoy while your caree is occupied.
How did you do?
Mostly A’s: You’re nearing an overload. It’s okay to trust that others can care for your caree. It won’t be your same loving care, but it will be okay. And, you’ll be okay, too.
Mostly B’s: You’re on overload! Stop–whatever you’re doing. Sit, rest and let yourself off the hook. You’re not meant to be perfect. You’re only meant to do your best–and you are. Remember: You can plan, but you can’t control. Put your plans in place: What happens while you take time for yourself is beyond your control; let it go.
Mostly C’s: Hurray, you’re in good shape. Stay in shape by taking advantage of any and all opportunities to share the load.