Your Time

It is important to take time each day to spend for and on yourself. It may seem you don’t have the time, it is selfish, or there are more important things to do. In fact, in the scheme of things and as a caregiver, one of the most important things you can do each day is to spend at least ten to fifteen minutes on yourself. By doing so, you help yourself as well as those around you. Those ten to fifteen minutes spent on yourself can help you relax, ease tension, and refresh yourself. That time can help you return to your caregiver tasks with renewed energy and a new perspective.

The ideal situation is that each day you have a scheduled time – “your time” – that everyone in your household knows and respects and those members are ready to take over the caregiver tasks during that time. During your time, you might have someone who comes in to relieve you from your caregiver tasks. Or if you are alone, your time may be a time when your loved one is sleeping or resting peacefully and you can take a break without worrying about their safety.

Granted, ten to fifteen minutes time may not seem like much time but you might be amazed at how much it will help you regroup and refresh. Perhaps you will be able to increase the time on certain days. If you can possibly find thirty minutes even better! During those ten to fifteen minutes you might choose something as simple as sitting on your porch or deck, enjoying nature, and being aware of the moment.

Here are some other ideas: Tend to your flowers. Watch the sunset. Work a crossword puzzle. Do something of pleasure for yourself – give yourself a foot rub with peppermint foot lotion! Write in your journal – keep track of your feelings as you go through your caregiver journey. Develop a ritual that lifts the spirit within and celebrates the moment.

It is important to take care of yourself not only for your own needs but also for those who are depending on you. Those ten to fifteen minutes can reduce your stress and tension and give you strength to carry on. Most important, do not give in to the very strong temptation to use your time to get the household chores done! Do not think of anything else but what you are doing or concentrating on during your time. Take time for yourself – care for your body, mind, and spirit.

Dr. Amy

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