How Do You Care for Yourself?

Denise

How Do You Care for Yourself?

Denise
pier-349672_640One of our newest members posed a great question in our The Healthy Caregiver group:

I am finding it challenging to make time and not feel guilty about taking time for stress relief and fitness. I’ve always struggled with weight, especially in times of extreme stress (like now). I know it is important, but how are others managing the caree’s needs along with their own health needs?


Her question reminded me of an experience I had last month. I traveled to Oklahoma City to present two seminars at a conference for family caregivers. The conference opened with a presentation from Bruce McIntyre, author of Graceful Transitions and caregiver for his wife, Kathy, who was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease after the birth of their second child. His presentation, "Caregiving and chronic illness: 10 Lessons in Ten Years," was particularly interesting because Kathy was also his co-presenter.

During their talk, Kathy shared how she takes care of herself. She takes a warm bath in the evening which helps her relax. She stays in bed on Saturday mornings. She spoke of these rituals without any guilt; she's learned what she needs to do to protect her health and then simply does it. Drama doesn't enter into her self-care routines in the form of guilt or lengthy explanations or the need for a stamp of appoval. She communicates her needs with Bruce and their two children and then follows through on what she needs. Her baths and her Saturday mornings keep her in a good place so she can be the best mom, wife and person she can be.

I thought that was awesome: Self-care without any guilt.

How do you protect your time for your good health? Do you struggle with taking the time you need for your own exercise or quiet time? Do you have enough time in your day for what you need? What's the biggest challenge you face in trying to find time for yourself and your good health?

Please share your experiences in our comments section, below.

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6 Comments

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Shirley

I hope you had the best time, you earned it!!! I might take a page out of your book!!!\r\n\r\n\r\nShirley

lookingheavenward

As for me - I have moved all of my exercise inside the house- I bought myself a recumbent bike so I can jump on and do 20 miles when I have an hour while she is sleeping. I also bought some walking DVDs so I can walk 3 miles in my home while she is sleeping. It is time to myself and exercise - all while just 40 feet away from her. I have the phone intercom right next to me if she needs anything. When I need to get out of the house - we are working on getting a caregiver to stay. Our first trial run is on the 4th of August - I am excited- I will just be here in town. There is a new business - a ceramics place - where people can go and paint ceramics. I am not good at painting- but that just means I can only get better. So I got a caregiver for 4 hours - 4 whole hours all to myself! I am going to go and paint and then take myself to lunch :D I am SO excited! I used to feel guilty if I needed some time away - why should I go and have fun when Mom is suffering so terribly. But I realized that beating myself up didn't do anyone any good! I do need to recharge my batteries so that I can be the best caregiver for my Mom. And that is what I want! So I try to not allow guilt to creep into my head and heart while I am taking a few moments to myself. And I am sure Mom appreciates a break from me as well!!

Shirley

I also feel guilt in taking time for myself I haven't found the answer to this question. A few times I went to the grocery store and came home and found my husband on the floor. I can't imagine how guilty I would feel if I was doing something for me. Everyone says take care of yourself first I am not sure how to do this when my husband needs so much care and fights me on hiring an aide because he thinks he will be fine at home while I do what I need to do .I have just started trying to catch up on my doctors appointments I was surprised to find my heart has extra beats, I am following up with a cardiologist and I am now finally making my doctors appointments a priority , but not without stress of leaving my husband alone. \r\nShirley