Caregivers must be intentional about caring for their own health. In the process of caring for someone else, it’s easy to neglect yourself. Just as you make a schedule for your loved ones, make a schedule for yourself. Schedule down time for yourself even if it’s sitting outside in the fresh air. You are valuable, if you do not take care of yourself how will you care for others?
My husband has an aide that comes three days a week, it’s only for an hour or so but that an hour that I can use to get out of the house. She will call and let me know when she is on her way and I immediately begin to gather what I need so that I can walk out the door as soon as she walks in. I usually use that time to get in some form of exercise.
Exercise has several benefits, one of which is that it improves your mood while also decreasing anxiety and stress. During exercise your body releases chemicals that improve your mood. As little as 30 minutes of exercise can have positive results on an individual.
I know from personal experience that I am happier when I exercise. I walk away from a workout with a feeling of accomplishment that I have done something good for myself. While we as caregivers are busy doing for others, do not overlook yourself. If you want to have something to give to the one you care for be sure to nourish yourself, otherwise you will be empty. You will have nothing for yourself and certainly nothing to give others.
Caregivers start moving.
Evelyn Johnson Taylor
My book See Me Hear Me Know Me from The Heart of a Caregiver I share my journey of being a caregiver for my husband. Next month will be 10 years that I have been his caregiver. It has been quite an interesting journey to say the least. With the fluctuation of his condition you would think it would make my job easier. Well, sometimes it does but to be honest most of the time it does not. It’s the not knowing what to expect that has been one of the great challenges for me. One day he is quite independent than the next day he is dependent.
Scott, my husband has just come home from nearly a one-month stay in the hospital. With this new discharge brings new challenges. When I wrote this book, my goal was to give a voice to caregivers. To add validation their emotions and let them know that they are not alone.
It has been one of my great joys to hear from caregivers who have read the book and to learn how much it helped them. Sharing our story has opened doors for me to speak to Caregiver Support Group where I have met some amazing individuals. Caregivers work hard doing a job that no one really asks for.
2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
The answer that Apostle Paul received in this Scripture is not the answer we seek when we go to God with an issue, but it was a good answer. The Apostle was assured that God’s grace was sufficient for all his needs. Even in his infirmity that could have hindered his effectiveness, the grace of God was sufficient. As caregivers, know that whatever demands your role as a caregiver puts on you, the grace of God will see you through. His grace is often in the form of tools and resources that come to assist caregivers. Be wise and take advantage of every opportunity to receive the help you need. Caregivers must take care of themselves so that they can continue to care for the most vulnerable among us.
Have you ever had a day when you thoughts, “I’m not going to make it?” There is not a day that goes by that I am not thankful for the grace of God. I see His grace upon my life daily. The ultimate gift of grace is demonstrated to us when we remember the sacrifice of God giving His Son and the sacrifice of the Son giving His life for the sins of the human race. Grace speaks of God’s divine favor and influence upon the heart of mankind. Grace is not only His favor but grace is God doing for me what I could not do for myself.
I grew up in a Christian home with parents who loved us and loved God. We were taught the principles of the Scripture from a very young age. But the truth is the love of Christian parents would not redeem me from the curse of sin. It would take the grace of God to do for me what no one else could do. I deserved the penalty that accompanied sin but He who was sinless took my place. The sins of mankind were placed on Jesus and in exchanges we can become the righteousness of God if we believe and accept Jesus Christ as Lord. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21(NKJV)
Grace is continually being extended today, not only for salvation but for daily living. In those times when I walk outside of God’s plan for my life, His grace is available to forgive and restore. When I totally mess up big time, His grace is not taken away but it remains. In the midst of life’s challenges when I feel like throwing both hands up in walking in another direction, God is there, doing for me what I cannot do for myself. He is encouraging me, strengthening me, and empowering me for the journey. That’s the grace of God.