This post has been written, re-written, crossed-out, and restarted multiple times. I’m not exactly sure on the best approach to this subject of caregiving. I’m thinking that will have to develop and grow over time.
My role as caregiver is a big part of my life. In fact it’s one of the main reasons I entered the world of self-employment. Because of this, I have been encouraged to start writing about it and sharing more of my story and experiences.
- Is hard. It can be physically demanding, emotionally draining and spiritually challenging.
- Is a special calling. I have had incredible opportunities to be with friends and family during difficult illnesses and as hard as some of the experiences were I wouldn’t trade spending that time with them for anything.
- Is a personal journey. My experiences as a caregiver is different from yours but we can still learn from and encourage each other.
- Can be taken for granted. Both by the caregiver and the one receiving care. We don’t see it as a skill and can easily discount what we do. The one receiving the care gets used to you being there and forgets the impact of what you do.
Caregiving Is A Calling
Not everyone can do it and caregivers have strengths in different areas.
For example… my role as a caregiver with my Mom is more about the day-to-day health care. For my sister, who lives about 2,000 miles away, can’t be part of the everyday care. She can and does a great job of calling, checking in, encouraging her and engaging our Mom in conversation. Which is not something that is at the top of my skill-set!
This calling is placed on the heart and with it, comes a desire to make a difference and a positive impact in the lives of others. It was this call that I was answering when the time came to start a business and answering that call changed my life dramatically.
Caregiving On Ordinary Days & Hard Days
Since it can be such a hard job and because it happens day in and day out, it may seem like we are stuck, that we are not making a difference.
We may feel alone, small and unimportant. We may feel exhausted & pushed to our limits. We may do the same things and have the same schedule each day, it can even seem boring!
That is when the caregiver needs to be cared for. They need to be reminded of how important they are. How appreciated they are and of the positive impact they are having on the lives they touch.
At times like this it’s helpful to remember that:
God does uncommon works through common deeds.~ Max Lucado
The act of giving care can feel like a series of ordinary days. Days that blur together. Days that may seem not to count. But they do!
We can’t always see it, but when we follow the call on our life to show up, God takes care of the rest. God can do amazing things through us when we just show up day after day.
Caring for the Caregiver
I also believe that:
I was not created, loved, nurtured, DIED for and pursued by a God who had ‘survival mode’ in mind.~Jennifer Deatrich
There are seasons where life gets intense and the desire to find balance is strong. But, let’s face it, there are days when sitting down for 5 minutes sounds like a luxury. There are days when getting out of the house is an adventure!
Self-care has to become a priority and it can be one of the hardest things to do. We feel guilty and we find excuses to put it off. What I do know however, is that if we don’t take care of ourselves we will eventually break and not be available to those who need and rely on our care. (It’s one of the reasons I keep revisiting the topic!!)
As a group, we often feel overwhelmed, stressed out and discouraged. My hope is that by sharing more of my journey and what I am learning along the way will not only encourage you but give you some tools so you can take care of yourself. And… in turn give you ideas on how you can support and encourage others.
Sidenote: In the coming months I will be inviting other caregivers to share their stories, offer encouragement and tips on how they incorporate self-care in their busy lives.
Resources for the Caregiver
I’ve been finding some great books and blogs lately that are helping me would love to share them with you too:
- Book: “Simply Tuesday” by Emily P. Freeman – in this book Emily shows the beauty of embracing the small moments
- Book: “Pursuing Christ. Creating Art” by Gary A. Molander – Through this book I see my desire to be creative is something to celebrate and use as part of my self-care routine.
- eBook: “Your Retreat” by Erin Odom – This downloadable book gives you the reasons why you need to take personal retreats and the tools to walk you through the process.