When every minute of your time as a family caregiver feels claimed by something else already, it’s difficult to find even one moment just for you. It’s definitely doable, but you might need to plan it out a bit.
Start Your Day with Gratitude
If you can start every morning by making a list of things you’re grateful for, you’ll have started your day on a positive note. Try keeping a gratitude journal by your bed so that you can start listing things right away. Or, you might take a moment before you even sit up and mentally compose a list of things you’re grateful for without moving a muscle.
Set Timers and Use Them
When you know exactly when you’re going to take a break, you’ve got something to strive for. Pick a time for your first 4- or 5-minute break. Establish ahead of time that you’re going to take a walk in the backyard or let the dog out. Whatever you want to do to get away from what you’re doing can help you to focus better when you come back.
Take Advantage of Your Senior’s Activities
Take a look at your senior’s typical schedule. If she prefers a mid-morning nap for a half hour, take advantage of that. Instead of tackling chores during that time or doing something for someone else, use that time just for you. Read a book or call a friend. Do whatever you can during that time to recharge yourself.
Make a List of Short Distractions
Sometimes when you’re stressed, it’s difficult to know what to do when you do have a few minutes. If that’s true for your, take a few minutes when you’re feeling relaxed and make a list of things you can do when you only have a few minutes. It might include friends you can call, a book that you can read a page or two from, or anything else that you enjoy.
Being a caregiver doesn’t mean that you have to be at your senior’s beck and call every minute of every day. Take these few moments for you every day and intersperse them with larger blocks of time devoted just to being you.