a delay or cessation for a time, esp. of anything distressing or trying; an interval of relief.
Let’s assume that you have no one to help you this second. Maybe you’re a new parent caring for an infant. Maybe you’re part of the sandwich generation caring for kids at one end, and parents who are in declining health on the other. Or maybe you are a caregiver to a special needs child, or an ailing spouse. Whatever your situation, you are craving respite from the pressure you’re facing.
Your difficulties may not seem like a big deal to someone else, but you’re not feeling like Superman right now. And what was easy for you at the beginning may be wearing on you simply because of the unendingness of it all. Whatever the circumstances, what you’re feeling now is exhaustion. And what you need is r.e.l.i.e.f.
A bit of respite.
I’m there with you. I’ve needed respite many times. Caring for Bill for three years, Annie for four, and raising seven kids left me on the verge of tearing my hair out at least once a month. Usually, though, before I actually did tear out my hair, I was able to take a little break, if only for a minute in the bathroom. By myself.
The reality is, respite doesn’t fix the burden. But it reminds us that we do need help carrying the burden. And my hope is that these ideas will give you a quick breath as you tread the waters of caregiving. So, broken down into three time increments, depending on how much time you can escape have, here they are:
Go outside. Suck in the fresh air and breathe out anxiety and frustration.
Stretch and do some deep knee bends—get that oxygen into your brain.
Run some warm water onto a washcloth and wash your face.
Thinking about your five senses:
- Spray on some fragrant perfume.
- Turn on soft, relaxing music.
- Light a candle.
- Fix a cup of tea.
- Eat a piece of dark chocolate.
Remember you’re not alone–Jesus said He’ll never leave us or forsake us.
Whisper a prayer for strength and rest. He’ll give them to you.
Remind yourself that this is a season of intensity, not your entire life.
Read one chapter of a book.
Visit on the phone with a friend.
Take a nap.
Walk around the block, or around the yard if you’ve got little ones sleeping.
Straighten up your main rooms, and then sit with your feet up.
Weed. Pray. Love.your petunias.
Meet a friend for coffee.
Get a mani or pedi–or both if you can splurge.
Make bread and let the smells wafting from the oven calm you.
Clean a bathroom, closet, or entry—a clean house brings order to your mind.
Iron some shirts and pray. I do my best praying when I’m ironing Bill’s shirts. I know, ironing is so retro.
Take the dog on a long walk.
Write a letter, send a birthday card, mail a thank you note. Thinking of others = good antidote to depression.
There—I feel better already. I hope you do, too.
My next post will be about you gatekeepers–you know who you are—and why being one can be counterproductive to successful caregiving over the long haul.
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