So often as caregivers, we are running so hard, putting ourselves last, and not realizing we are burnt out until we fall ill. Or, we know we’re overwhelmed, but we accept it without question. What happens when the caregiver is down for the count – the wheels have a tendency to come off, don’t they?
Make a promise to yourself to Check-In at least weekly. Better yet, do the same with a trusted caregiver or friend as an “accountability partner” so you don’t neglect to consider your own health.
Ask these questions to start:
• Am I eating well? Skipping meals, snacking too much?
• Do I laugh each day? Red flag if you don’t find something amusing each day, even if you don’t laugh out loud. How many times do we text LOL, but not DO it?
• Am I drinking enough water? Do I exist on coffee and soda instead?
• Do I spend quiet time, reflective time, prayer, or meditation each day?
• Am I sleeping well or enough?
• Do I get exercise each day?
• Do I interact with others each day? In-person is preferable, but at least by phone to hear a voice or online if all else fails.
If you’re aware that you’re not checking in, or struggling when you do, we urge you to talk to someone professionally. Many physicians are only now realizing the strain caregivers carry and how to assist you, but it’s growing.
Seek community resources such as faith-based counseling, or call Give An Hour (www.GiveAnHour.org) for cost-free help. Life is so precious and perhaps you cannot change your situation, but you can change aspects of taking care of you.
Caregivers are the heartbeat of the family, and make the active choice to care for you.
Linda Kreter is CEO of WiseHealth Inc., and founder of VeteranCaregiver.com. Find more information, videos, and resources at www.VeteranCaregiver.com.