I'm in a unique position as a caretaker. I'm taking care of an EX-husband. Sometimes I have to remind myself to "Do unto others as I would have them do unto me". And, even though we are not married anymore, I feel sure if the situation was reversed, he would take care of me. Strange situation to be in.
One of the things I'm trying to guard against is caretaker burnout. It's extremely easy to spend so much time having to care for him, that I forget about me.
Good case in point…I noticed my complexion was starting to look pretty rough. Holy cow, how long had it been since I'd taken time to give myself a facial? Probably several months. It was easier to just take a wet washcloth and quickly run it across my face. Not a good sign. I looked in the mirror…my hair was about 3 inches too long. When had I stopped caring about my hair? I was running around looking like a wild woman.
It had been days since we had eaten anything except sandwiches because…when had I quit cooking?
It extremely important to recognize the signs and start taking action when you recognize you're not taking care of yourself. You know you feel better when you look good and you've gotten a good haircut.
I immediately ran to the bathroom, gave myself a facial. Haven't had time to get that haircut yet but I'm determined to make that phone call this morning.
I cooked a kick-ass dinner last night and will do the same tonight and tomorrow night.
I'm now making Alan stay up until 9 pm. He hates it but it seems to be giving him a full night's sleep. That way I'm not getting awakened at 3:30 am by lights going on because he has his days and nights mixed up.
And at this time I'm writing 8 different blogs because it amuses me and I'm hoping to build a readership. It's helping me keep my sanity.
And I have a good friend that will tell me the truth when she sees me slacking off on taking care of myself. She's helped me so much, doing things that I was too overwhelmed to tackle. At one point we attended a party. She told me she would take care of Alan, and that I was to go socialize and not worry about him. I did that and felt like a new person after a few hours of not having to worry what he was doing.
Remember how important it is to keep laughing, to take care of yourself too. And if you have a friend who is a caretaker for a family member, please take time to give her a little time off so she can go do something for herself. Your friend may not be able to afford to hire someone to give her time off. I can't until his disability starts in June. So be a real friend and give your friend a few hours out of the house to take are of herself. You have no idea how she'll appreciate you for it.