Nearly every person I talk to who is involved with the day to day caring and support of a loved one dealing with a life changing medical diagnosis says the one thing they dread hearing is “Make sure you take a break!”
I was at our local “The Kitchen is Open” coffee and chat group for family caregivers and was deeply inspired by the group. One thing I noticed was that each of the members was doing quite well and I realized it was because they took some time to care for themselves and came out to the group.
This group is pretty informal, with a short presentation followed by time to sit, enjoy some coffee or tea, and have a chat. This particular time we started off with Laughter Yoga. That’s a whole other topic for another blog post.
When you’re pulled in a dozen directions, exactly how do you take a break?
Below are some everyday hacks you can try.
When you can get out of the house:
- Take a walk around the block,
- Go for a drive
- Visit a friend
- Find the quiet corner in your favourite coffee shop.
- Spend time in nature.
- Check out a park or get active and walk or cycle on a trail.
When it’s a little more challenging to leave the house:
- Don’t underestimate the power of a small break in another room.
- Creating your own space where you can be alone can give you many moments of peace.
- Try a spare room, the family room, or even the bathtub.
Once you have found your own peaceful place there are a few different things you do:
- There are many benefits to taking a few minutes to sit still, closing your eyes and being quiet.
- Focus on your breath if it’s hard to sit still.
- Meditation is highly recommended.
- You can also catch a catnap.
- Listen to music
- Do cross words
- Talk with a friend
- Paint, or draw.
When you are caregiving 24/7 and never far away from your loved one, here are some hacks for getting a break without leaving the room:
- You can use an mp3 player and headphones to listen to your favourite calming music
- Listen to a progressive muscle relaxation audio to release some of your muscle tension and stress.
- Read or listen to audio books
- Do crossword or Soduko puzzles.
Choose something that brings you peace, joy and a sense of rest or rejuvenation.
Resist the temptation to do household chores, get on the computer or write your grocery list.
This is sacred time for your own well-being.
Fill your cup first.
Speaking of filling your cup first, please grab your coffee or tea and join me and 14 other Professional Caregiving Consultants and Coaches for the Intentional Caregiver Virtual Summit, November 14 – 19th, 2016.
We will be having conversations on everything caregiving, from what to know before you bring someone home from the hospital, how to be a happy and healthy caregivers, caring for a loved one with dementia, unique hacks, tips and strategies for you to be comfortable with who you are, and why pre-planning helps you and the one you are caring for. This is where you can find more information.
I’m sure I’ve missed a thing or two on those lists above – what is your favourite “time for me” thing to do?
I’m taking my own advice and taking time for me. It’s been a long time since I’ve done this so I’m unplugging for a few days and taking some time to relax, rejuvenate and get re-energized.
Whether it’s a minute, an hour, a day or a week – take some time for you.
A few minutes to yourself can help you be ready for the hours of caregiving ahead