On Friday, Dr. Forrest Beck, author of Cultivating the Fine Art of Selfishness: Improving Community by Empowering Individuals, joined me on Your Caregiving Journey. We talked about the importance of self-care during an experience, like caregiving, when it feels so hard to find enough caring to go around. You can listen to our show via the player below.
You can be a priority during caregiving. Here’s what you keep when you give to yourself:
- Your health. In a situation in which you can lose so much (flexibility, freedom, finances), don’t lose your good health. Losing your health is the sacrifice you can’t live with.
- Your future. During our show, Dr. Beck shared why he has a passion for self-care. His father focused so much on doing for others that he neglected his own health, dying in his late 60s. Dr. Beck grieves the loss of his father’s future in his life and his son’s life. Keep your future–you want to be around to see what’s next.
- Your perspective. Ejourneys has written about how she found a healthier attitude about her caregiving situation when she took time in her day to focus on what feels good to her. Without time for your passions and your interests, you can’t feel good about this time in your life. You are a whole person, with needs and wants, beyond caregiving. When you give time to what keeps you whole, you feel better about caregiving.
- Your blessings. When you don’t spend time on what you need and want, you can’t see what’s going well. You literally look over your blessings, believing they don’t exist. When you take time for yourself, you give time for your blessings to be fully visible.
- Your community. I asked Dr. Beck about the pressing needs of caregiving, particularly at end of life. You may feel like you can’t step away for your own self-care as the time left with your caree slips away. Take time away, even for a few minutes. Give room for others–family and friends–to be with your caree. It’s important that others have a memory of a special time with your caree at the end. And, it’s important that you get rest to be at your best. Keeping your community of family and friends involved throughout and then at the end also means you have more people in your life with whom you share special memories. You’ll be grateful that you can reminisce with others.
- Your impact. The irony of caregiving is that it can become a very lonely experience. Except that to make it through caregiving, you have to share it. Caregiving is truly meant to be shared, whether with family and friends, with your support group, with the organizations you hire to help, with us. And, know that when you share with us, you take care of yourself. When you take time to share, you actually help others know that it’s good to take the time for self-care.
A few weeks ago, in our FitPASS weekly check-in call, I encouraged our FitPASS members to be the family caregivers who stay healthy during caregiving. You can, too.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts in our comments section, below.
- Get your weekly care plan, a plan for your choices during your week here.
- The Caregiver’s Dilemma (caregiving.com)
- CareGifters: Giving to L’Tanya (caregiving.com)
- Report: Almost Half of Family Caregivers Perform Medical Tasks (caregiving.com)
- When Work and Caregiving Call on the Same Line (caregiving.com)
- National Family Caregivers Month (caregiving.com)