November is National Family Caregivers Month. Over the course of our lifetime, many of us will find ourselves taking care of a loved one with a disease or disability who may need temporary or long-term assistance with daily activities. Being a caregiver, or what is often referred to as a "care partner," can be fulfilling by offering the opportunity to provide a loved one, friend, or neighbor with needed help and reassurance. However, this role can also affect the life of the care partner in significant and often challenging ways.
Today, guest blogger and CCA Mom Jeannie Ewing shares more on Care Giving to honor the special caregivers in our CCA Family and the cranio community worldwide.
I think every caregiver knows that “we can’t care for others until we first care for ourselves.” It has become a cliché of sorts in the caregiving community, and yet we are so poor at implementing it ourselves. The head-heart connection is somehow lost upon us as we move from one crisis to the next, just barely keeping our heads above the water. It might be helpful to list tips on self-care, but we all know we need to eat right, drink more water and less alcohol, quit smoking, sleep at least eight hours per night, and exercise daily. What more can be said?
Self-care begins with self-love. If we truly possess self-worth, then we are willing to prioritize loving ourselves back to health. It’s no surprise that caregivers are more susceptible than the populace to divorce, chronic disease, and substance abuse. So how do we rise above that statistic and overcome the odds? Quite simply, it begins with believing we are worth caring for and then extending love and mercy upon ourselves.
When we love ourselves, we recognize the signs our bodies use to communicate that we need to slow down or even stop completely for a while. It may seem impossible to do this when you have a medically fragile child, but it’s paramount to be tuned in to our inherent needs before they get wildly out of control. For some of us, managing stress can be as simple as taking five minutes away from everything and sitting in silence. For others, it involves meditation and still others may take a fifteen minute walk in nature. No matter the means, the point is that we must prioritize loving our bodies and minds so that they can be renewed and energized to tackle the next catastrophe or stress-inducing frustration.
Take time today to find five, ten, or fifteen minutes to do something that refreshes you, makes you feel alive and awake, and draws renewed strength for you to offer yourself more fully to your loved one.
Jeannie Ewing is a writer, speaker, and grief recovery coach. She is the co-author of Navigating Deep Waters: Meditations for Caregivers. Jeannie was featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition and Tony Agnesi’s radio show Finding God’s Grace. For more information on her professional services, visit her websites lovealonecreates.com or fromgrief2grace.com.
Text Copyright 2015 Jeannie Ewing, all rights reserved.
Image Copyright 2013 “Balance” by realworkhard on Pixabay and edited in Canva by Jeannie Ewing.