I was reminded of something very important today thanks to Janet Edmunson’s Weekly Affirmation email: “I make sure to take time for myself, no matter what.”
How many of us say we’ll take time off sometime in the future? I know I do. The always present to do list, spending time with family and taking care of things around the house seem to always take every waking minute. Add caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s to this mix and the demands on our time increase exponentially. How can you possibly take time for yourself when you are giving care?
Yet, taking time for yourself is probably the best way to take care of yourself. You need not take days or weeks, even a few hours helps. Taking time away from caregiving allows you to rejuvenate your energy, take care of your own health and help guard against burnout. You get a chance to step back, breathe and flush out negative energy and feelings. In short, taking time for yourself can make you a better caregiver.
My wife is a nurse in an intensive care unit (ICU) at one of the local hospitals in our area. Being an ICU nurse is incredibly demanding physically, mentally and emotionally. Like caring for a loved one, she has good days at the ICU and bad ones. When she has some time off, I like to make sure I give her time for herself. Doing so allows her to be a better nurse for her patients when she goes back to work.
I know all of this sounds all well and good, but is difficult to accomplish when you feel such depth of responsibility for your loved one with Parkinson’s and especially so when there are few, if any, options for respite. Figuring out such options will be a post for another time.
In the meantime, take some time for yourself. I’ll work on doing the same. I’m sure it will do all of us a lot of good.