I’m just coming off of a long needed vacation. I have to admit I knew I needed time away after several stressful years of caring for family members… I just didn’t realize how much I needed it.
When caught up in the perpetual chaos and motion of caring for an ill family member it’s hard to even fathom bringing the speeding train of life to a complete halt. Honestly, as much as I preach self-care and taking time to care for yourself when caring for a loved one; I did not often adhere to my own life lessons.
Ways I allowed myself to “Be” and some lessons learned from the experience.
- I unplugged – I shut off the phone and powered down the computer. This was probably the most challenging as I, like most people, am overly attached to my ability to be instantly connected through text, email and social media, however; I think this was the MOST IMPORTANT thing for me to do in regards to my self-care. (Most of what we have deemed necessary to stay connected to others are ironically the things that inhibit us from truly connecting with those right in front of us.)
- Remembered how to have fun – caregiving is very serious business. I’m sure I often went for days and weeks (possibly even months) without having fun. I set out to find joy and fun every day – even if I had to create the fun myself. (Do things that are fun so you don’t forget how to enjoy life.)
- I permitted myself to grieve – the loss of my aunt (see For Aunt Josie) has been very difficult for me. We were very close and she was such an amazing woman. Since her death I have tried to avoid truly grieving her loss by “keeping busy” allowing me to shove the emotions down. When I was able to just “be”, I could experience the grief in a profound and healthy way. Grief is a journey (see Good Grief )that we must go through in order to be healthy, there is no way to circumvent the journey – only prolong the process by trying to avoid the feelings.
- I was fully present with those around me – I met a ton of amazing people while on vacation and without the everyday distractions I was able to be fully present with everyone I met. It’s amazing how much you can connect with people RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU when you are fully present to the conversation.
Just “Be-ing” reminded me why I preach making self-care a priority. It gave me opportunity to attain physical rest and emotional healing, as well as rejuvenated my passion and drive for assisting family caregivers.
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