Take Care of Yourself
Guest blog by Nancy Kalina, Certified Martha Beck Life Coach and owner of Safe Space Life Coaching
I had a hip replacement surgery in 2007. Two weeks prior to surgery, my partner suggested that I create a “gimp watch.” She planned to return to work after I came home from my surgery, but we both were aware that the doctor’s orders were that I was not to be alone for the first two weeks. Kim knew that her role would change dramatically the moment I went in for surgery and her “responsibilities” would increase tremendously once I got home from the hospital. For one thing, I would be unable to help with usual daily household tasks. Interestingly, we also found out that I was unable to get in and out of bed by myself, and while I had exercises that were in my best interest to complete, I was physically unable to do them by myself. Doing my physical therapy required hands-on assistance initially.
Having me create a list of people who were scheduled to come in and support me — the “gimp watch” — allowed Kim some respite via her job. While she was the caregiver each night, she could go to work each day comfortable in the knowledge that I had help during the day. I want to be clear that Kim would never have been able to take such good care of me if she had not first acknowledged that while she was still the partner who loved me, she was also going to temporarily be my main caregiver. Acknowledging this gave Kim permission to take care of herself. It also allowed her to give care to me with love and not resentment.
Let me encourage you to get honest with yourself! That is where it all begins. Where in your life are you caregiving? Acknowledge it. Commend yourself for being so loving because you are! Then make sure you take time to take care of yourself. What feeds your soul? What de-stresses you? What makes you laugh? What relaxes you? Nurture yourself first so that you have energy to nurture others. And above all else, realize that you deserve it!
Please see Lessons from Caring for the Caregiver (Part 1): Recognize Your Role