Being a caregiver can be very challenging and sometimes difficult to overcome but it can be done. On January 31, 2017, the rest of mine and my mother’s lives changed in a way that shook me loose. On that day I found myself in the emergency room waiting anxiously for my mother who was having a stroke.
When she arrived I didn’t realize how serious it was until I was helping her undress. I looked down at her mouth and she was losing her ability to sit up on her own. With the truth staring me right in the face, there was no more, “I got this and I’m strong.” I was weak and I was sad because at that moment I was a child. I was her child and not the responsible party. I was not only sad for myself I was devastated for what she might have been feeling in those moments.
I wasn’t very kind to myself during the first year. In fact, I wasn’t kind to myself at all. I was racing and running all over town trying to make sure that I got everything done. There were many sleepless nights and overwhelming days, some of which I just could not handle. I became so consumed with it all I ended up in the hospital myself with high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression. So many families share a similar experience.
On that day, I made a commitment to living a healthier life, with “me time” as the number one priority. Living a healthy lifestyle as a full-time caregiver with a family call for proper time management. Time management is essential (especially if you want to pursue your own dreams). Without it, each day can become very stressful. I, myself, was on the lack of time management boat and those waves tossed me about daily.
With a strong desire to change how I felt daily and overcome each day’s challenges, I started doing research. I came across so much helpful information for caregivers that benefitted me greatly. Information that continuously highlighted the importance of self-care, time management, and the need to delegate responsibilities is what stood out to me the most. These three ways to overcome the challenges of being a caregiver have helped me to keep my commitment.
- Self-care equals, “me time.” Make it intentional to spend time with yourself, whether it’s to read a book, take a walk, a nap, a bath, or even sit quietly.
- Each day schedule a time for the next day and let everyone know that there is no canceling. Scheduling your me-time falls right in line with time management. Me time allows you to replenish your mind and body and then you will be able to enjoy life while helping your loved ones.
- Delegating responsibilities between those in your household lightens the load and eliminates the need to rush. Having a lighter load helps to save your body and energy. Without a healthy body, no one can be of help to themselves or anyone else.