COVID-19 has caused a lot of stress on everyone, but it has been an especially difficult time for those who are caring for others. Caregiving is a stressful lifestyle even in good times, but when we have added worry and responsibilities from outside factors, it can be critical for us to take care of ourselves.
It is likely that our American lifestyle causes us to develop a sense of guilt whenever we do something for ourselves. We believe we are selfish when we spend a little extra time doing something nice for ourselves. I believe that comes from an attitude in early settlers that time spent on things other than chores and work that helped keep you alive, fed, and safe was time wasted. That wasn’t really true then, and it’s certainly not true now. Taking care of yourself is of utmost importance. If you don’t take care of yourself, how will you last through the long-term commitment of caring for someone else? You can’t care for them if you are too exhausted.
So, that being said, this week, why don’t you think of something nice you can do for yourself? Take some time to read that book you wanted to read. Or, maybe go out for dinner, or invite some friends in for a good chat. Whatever you want to do, if it isn’t hurting someone else, and if it makes you feel good, do it! You have earned it; and furthermore, you’ll continue to earn it.
If you think you can’t take any time for yourself now because the person you’re caring for isn’t doing well, or wouldn’t like it, well, if they aren’t doing well, it’s likely you’re already exhausted and you really need some time to recoup. If they don’t like it, well, how much do you do you don’t really like doing? Yes, you can admit it! You may feel obligated to care for that other person, but there is no law that says you have to enjoy doing it. You can still love that individual, but need some reward for all the work you’ve been doing so far. How many of us want to work and never get paid for it? If nothing else, it might change your attitude towards your responsibilities.
So, do something for yourself today. In fact, do something for yourself every day. The funny thing is, I can almost guarantee you that if you do, you’ll be better at caring for that person than if you didn’t take any of time for yourself.
It’s a hard job you’re doing. You’ve earned the reward of a bit of pampering. Go ahead…you’ll both be better for it. Good luck, and stay well!