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Help for Caregivers Blog

Keep up with some of the latest helpful information regarding caregiving from reliable sources.

Taking My Own Advice

5/18/2022 12:00:00 AM

A wrapped gift with a bow

I just got off the phone with a friend who asked, “How are you?” Without missing a beat my response was, “Fantastic!” Just back from a much-needed vacation at the beach, even 350 emails in my inbox and a pile of dirty clothes in the laundry can’t dampen my spirits.

Yes, I’m sad that “all good things must come to an end,” but I’ve returned to my responsibilities revitalized by the rhythms of nature. What is so stirring about beautiful sunsets, blazing red and orange, fading to coral, then to pink, mauve and muted violet light that finally vanishes into the darkness of night? What is so mesmerizing about roaring ocean waves and the silent progression of tides coming in and going out twice a day, every day without exception and with no human intervention? Why does the silent flight of a lone bird at nightfall rivet my attention and stop me in my tracks?

Beholding the beauty, I am filled with joy. Compared to the grandeur, I am humbled. Witnessing the regularity, I am reassured. Observing the rare and exotic, I am awed. Living close to nature was a profoundly spiritual experience that refreshed my soul and renewed my state of mind.

The “Out of Office” notice on my email told everyone that I was taking vacation, following the self-care advice I offer to caregivers. Restored by my vacation, I’m reminded why I recommend respite. Though caring for others can be rewarding and meaningful, it’s never easy. It can take a toll: undermining physical and emotional health; eroding productivity at work and relationships at home; leading to exhaustion or burnout. Stepping away helps prevent these negative consequences and preserves the capacity to care. Rest and respite can take many forms:

  • Stopping for a few moments, pausing for a break, a nourishing meal, a short nap or deep breath.

  • Relaxing for a few hours of entertainment, good conversation, an outing or visit to your house of worship.

  • Getting away for a vacation, for a change of scenery and the change of perspective that inevitably comes with it.

Whether brief or extended, letting go allows body and soul, heart and mind to rest and be restored. Respite is a critical element of healthy self-care for caregivers and every human being.

How about you, what are you doing to make rest and relaxation a regular part of your life? What more could you do for yourself? As you do so much to care for others, remember to care for yourself, too…Jane