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    By Amy and Bernadette

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Caregiver, care for thyself.

self-care

A dream I had last night brought it home to me like nothing else has: I. Am. Stressed.

It was one of those dreams that seems to last forever.  I know the sleep experts will tell you that dreams really only last  few minutes, but I could swear this one was all night long.  It involved overwhelming sadness, from a cause I know full well is extremely unlikely.  In fact, its very unlikelihood is what made me realize in the morning that this dream was totally the result of stress.

It was a wake-up call (see what I did there?).  Thankfully, it was my day off and I didn’t have  a huge agenda for the day.  So I quickly made plans to do fun and indulgent things to pamper myself all day long.  No housework (one load of laundry and the weekly grocery shopping don’t really count). A quick shopping trip for a new spring outfit.  Excellent lunch of goat cheese, Irish cheddar, multigrain artisan bread, and grapes… outside in sunshine and warmth.  Got my nails done for the first time in five years.  Took a walk in a nearby park with our darling younger daughter, who was not embarrassed to be seen out and about with her mother when a friend from school passed us.  Nice.  Finally, supper with said daughter while watching “Upstairs Downstairs  (70’s style) on Netflix.  Daughter’s idea.  She is so awesome.

People who care for others day in and day out need a break sometimes.  Whether it’s the constant caring of being a mom or the more overwhelming kind of caring htat takes place when someone you care for is physically or mentally ill, or whatever kind of caring is given us to do, caregivers need to create times and ways to take care of themselves, too.  A little pampering, a little sunshine and fresh air, a little exercise, time with pleasant and positive people – these things can keep us going.

Aaaaah…I really do feel better.  I predict better dreams tonight.

-Amy

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10 Responses

  1. Reblogged this on Let Our Family Care For Yours! and commented:
    Thank you for sharing. Caring for others can be very stressful and just like you said, you must take care of yourself, that is very important! We try to remind our CareGivers of this daily.

  2. What a great post, Amy. I can almost feel the warmth of the sun in your stroll through the park, and lunch al fresco. You have hit on one of the most critical needs for carers and caregivers – the need to take pleasure in the simple things in life, family friends and time off having fun. I’ve retweeted this post on my twitter @carefreecarers. Keep up the great writing!

  3. I made a vow to myself last year to do something just for me every day, be it paint my toe nails, or put on some brash Lippy, to going out to lunch with my Mum when possible. I manage most days and it does remind me I’m not just here to look after everyone else.

    • Awesome! I just read a post from someone else that made me think of actually placing one “just for me, just for fun” item on my to-do list every day. Being a total to-do list lover, I think this would work for me, if only for the joy of having one more thing I can physically cross off that list!

  4. Oh, esp. the “time with pleasant and positive people” bit! It can really be down heartening to always be around the negativity of a depressed person. Oh, the frustration! thank you for this great advice. 😉

  5. I nominated you for the Liebster Award! 🙂 My newest post explains: http://littleblogoflettinggo.com/2013/04/09/liebster-award/

    • Wow, thanks, Carrie! What a great way to start off my day! Bern and I are heading to a conference this weekend to do a presentation for the Missouri Association of School Librarians AND to promote our books at an author’s booth…and it will be great fun to spend our down time fulfilling the awesome requirements of this award. I’m truly honored, and so thankful you find something helpful in our blog.

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