For 1 week out of 52 weeks in the year, Carers are allowed to give themselves permission to do something nice for themselves.
Carers Week has just passed in Australia and Councils and other organizations arrange outings and lunches to celebrate these unsung heros of our society, and that is great..
If we were waiting for the one week of the year to look after ourselves, we would land in a sorry mess rather quickly. Sadly, though, this is the state a lot of carers find themselves...just managing to focus on the loved one and getting the job at hand done to the best of their ability and not having any energy left to care for themselves.
There is a very good reason we are asked to place our oxygen masks on first, before helping others on a plane. It is because if we are no good for ourselves, we are no good for anyone!
Caring for a loved one with a disability is not for sprinters, it is a true marathon and we really need to pace ourselves and keep ourselves as strong as we can, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
In my book: 'Waising Miss Chloe', I dedicate an entire chapter to self-care & time out.And In this blog, I am going a share a few of the ideas with you all.
Self-care and time out do not need to be time consuming or expensive. Although I do think it is nice - every now & then to treat yourself to something special. I have learnt in life that is actually MY JOB to ensure these 2 things are covered. If I am relying or expecting someone else to step up & provide me with the time out or self care, I could be very disappointed.
The very easiest way to do some (except when you are under the pump) time out, is to remember to breathe...Silly you may think...of course you breathe...be when we are stressed, our breathing becomes very shallow and this induces more stress.
The breathing I am talking about is conscious, deep, slow breathing. Once your breathing slows down, you become less tense and are able to manage things better.
Daily meditation is a great tool as well...nooo, you don't have to sit lotus style ummming for hours on end, if that is not your style. Just sit in a comfy seat, with a guided detestation for 10 minutes to begin with and wortk your way up to half an hour.
Go for a walk on your own, with a friend or the dog, if your dog is a good walker. Remember, this time is time out...so a stressful dog walk is for a different time.
I LOVE a bubble bath, with candles!
When I am in the car alone, I put MY music on or I listen to a talking tape, that way I enjoy the journey & arrive feeling more refreshed.
Watch a comedy show on TV...laughter is an amazing stress release & wonderful for time out.
Go for a nice drive ( and use some of that music I mentioned above). Country markets, seaside, a lake...there are many beautiful places to go for time out.
If you have a partner make sure you have regular date nights (mark them on the calendar)...where children talk is off-limits!
These are but a few suggestions, there are many, many more....what will your self-care program look like??
Something else I have learnt to be very aware of is H.A.L.T.S mode.
H - Hungry
A - Anxious/Angry
L - Lonely
T - Tired
S - Sick
If life seems to be getting on top of me more then usual, I stop and do this check list.
If I am hungry, I eat...tired, I rest & any of the others I look after myself and try to be kind to me till it has passed.
There is nothing wrong with asking for time out & doing self care...in fact it is vital when you have an demanding role as being a carer can be.
AND IT IS UP TO YOU TO ENSURE THESE NEEDS ARE BEING MET!!!
Take time out and start enjoying life....
Purchase my book, click the link below, and get some more great hints and tips.