Quite possibly your personal batteries are low! What are you doing to recharge them?
Please take some time for you. Even if it is only a few minutes a day, you can’t effectively serve others if your soul doesn’t get fed.
Here are a few ideas of how to do that:
Keep a journal – time spent writing in your journal can be a respite. No one judges, no one knows what you write. As caregivers, sometimes we hesitate to let others know our hurts, disappointments, anger with the survivor, and resentment. Putting it on paper is a way of getting it out. It can be amazingly helpful.
Get outside, if only for a few minutes. Are you able to have your morning coffee or tea by yourself? If so, take it outside. Fresh air and nature are renewing. A little sunshine and a sweet-smelling breeze can awaken your soul and stimulate your senses, making you feel more alive. Even if you return immediately to challenges which seem insurmountable, a tiny piece of your soul may have been restored. Those moments can quiet and still your soul, giving you comfort, peace, and providing hope.
Make your home (or at least a small corner of it which is your refuge) a haven of tranquility. Knowing that once you walk in the door, or once you go to a special chair or window seat, you will be surrounded by peacefulness, gives your spirit a lift. Looking forward to time there starts to be a bit like looking forward to a vacation: you know it will be relaxing and refreshing.
Read! Books can take you anywhere in the universe and even beyond. Keep a book with you so you can melt into it while you wait for appointments or even have a minute to devote to your own enjoyment. It’s totally true that you can get lost in a book…so do it! What a quick, inexpensive vacation for your soul!
Pursue some ‘me time.’ Is there a friend, relative, neighbor who could stay with your loved one for an hour or two a week? Go to a lecture, take a class, join a needlework group. JOIN A SUPPORT GROUP! I started taking adult ballet lessons about three years ago when I realized I needed something that was just for me. I’ve been doing it for three years and it still isn’t a thing of great beauty, but not only am I moving and working on skills for myself, while I am doing it my mind is totally focused on the movements and rhythm and so, at least for that time, other thoughts have to wait. (Video below) Go for it! Put yourself first, even if for just a moment.
Try gardening. This may be a good activity for both of you. There is something incredibly nourishing about working in the dirt and seeing something edible or beautiful grow. Do it together or use it as a respite activity.
Consider music! Sing! There is nothing like singing to release stress. If you aren’t a singer, play an instrument or listen to music. If music can soothe the savage beast, imagine what it can do for you!
Release your anxiety through art. Do you like to paint? Do crafts? Make jewelry? Go for it! Even in if done in tiny snippets, you will eventually have a product, which is very satisfying. Not so artsy? Try some of the new adult coloring books. They are very relaxing.
The list of activities which can recharge your batteries goes on and on. You don’t have to go to the islands for weeks to have a respite. Restorative activities can, and should, be part of every day…in little bits of time. The point is this: YOU ARE VALUABLE. YOU ARE IMPORTANT. Take care of you!