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This post has been written by Renee D’Argento, Healthy Living Program Coordinator at BayPath. Renee has a B.S. in Physical Education/ Exercise Science from UMass Boston and a Health Management Certificate from the Graduate School of Public Health at UMass Lowell. Learn more about our Healthy Living program
It is typical for caregivers to be so consumed with the daily caring of their person’s increasing needs and decreasing abilities, that they often ignore taking care of their own needs.
Please know that you are not alone in sometimes feeling overwhelmed by the demands of caregiving and that you have little time. You may be dealing with difficult emotions such as sadness, negative feelings/thoughts, and even guilt. This is normal.
But, if these feelings are preventing you from acting on your responsibilities, realize that it has been shown that those who take the time to take good care of themselves – physically, emotionally, socially, and even spiritually – are often better able to face the challenges of caregiving and experience the greatest rewards
Here are some suggested self-care activities, followed by a great tool from the Savvy Caregiver toolbox that can help:
Now imagine that your Fairy Godmother has granted you 5 wishes. I call it Fairy Godmother time. You will use this exercise to gather a list of ideas for what you would like to do – should the minutes of free time become available. The idea is that free time could appear at any moment and you need to be ready to take advantage-not waste precious minutes thinking about what you want to do. You will draw from this list when the opportunity presents itself. Once you have your list, place it on your refrigerator, or where you easily view it when the opportunity arises.
So here it is. Make your list. What will you do with:
1. 15 Minutes of Free Time
2. 30 Minutes of Free Time
3. 1 Hour of Free Time
4. Half Day of Free time
5. One whole day free of caregiving responsibilities!!!