“Take some time,” “Take care of yourself first.” When you hear these words of advice conveyed encountering challenges while caregiving, what’s your immediate reaction? Do you recoil at the idea, or adhere to the belief that to take care of yourself first is either irresponsible, naive, or just outright selfish? Why is it necessary “to first give care to the caregiver?”
An example of this necessity is at the beginning of a flight when the flight attendants warn, “In case of a decompression, place your own oxygen mask on first before assisting others.” In other words, you need to have enough stamina before you can help another. Even though you may not be in as dire of a situation as a decompression, assisting others in life situations can “take the oxygen out” of us both physically and emotionally.
Caregiving can be expressed in many ways. It can be a calling, an occupation, a change in life circumstances, or a combination of these options. The one receiving the care can be younger, older, or weaker medically. They can also be physically, financially, emotionally, or spirituality in need of support. In order to sustain our energy to aid another, we need to be cognizant of two main issues: 1) our energy level when assisting the other, 2) our attitude when assisting the other. [Read more…]