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  • Writer's pictureMadeylyn Balitz

A Caregiver Requires Respite

Yes, you may indeed feel guilty, uneasy, or selfish for admitting that you need a break from caregiving or watching over your loved one in hospice care. But just as you would not stay healthy by only eating green beans for every meal every day, it is crucial to bring some balance to your life. Being a responsible caregiver and taking some time for yourself are not mutually exclusive—in fact, these are the same thing.

Once you make a decision, you will be able to make it work. It is important to put some thought into what would be the best use of your time when someone else steps in to help and relieve you.

While it is tempting to do your personal errands and address your to-do list, do not let tasks eat up all of your time for yourself. You must have a break to just “be” and not just “do.”

Here are 3 tips you may not hear from anyone else, but as someone who has been around caregiving my whole life, I know these are helpful:

  1. Paying a caregiving service to have someone there for a period of time can often be less stressful and more of a true break for you than relying on a family member or friend.

  2. It is possible to take a mini-vacation and feel very much refreshed after only half a day. Simply take yourself to a totally different environment than is usual, engage your mind in something completely off topic, and surrender to relaxing. Tell yourself you’ll be picking up the tote bag of responsibility when the sundial says it’s time, so there is nothing you need to do until then.

  3. Say “thank you” to you. Thank yourself for all the dedicated care you have been providing another human being. Then thank yourself for making time for your own health for mind, body, and spirit.

A respite helps to avoid the well-traveled road to caregiver depression, or even burnout. Don’t let anyone tell you how to use your respite as each of us gets rejuvenated in different ways. A support group is helpful to one, while only alone time feeds another.

My balance is restored and my batteries are recharged from time at the beach, reading or writing. Lucky for me I live a few miles from this opportunity…I just need to remember to take it more often.

What do you find restorative?

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