Something I'm Learning

Do you remember learning to ride a bike? I was terrified, and it took me ages. But I doubt any of us learned without a few scary moments and at least a couple of bumps and bruises. I'm currently in the process of learning something new again - I am learning how to transition to a future without my mom.

Redefining what self-care means

I think the first step toward transitioning is redefining what self-care means for me. For most of my life, I thought self-care meant manicures or bubble baths but being a full-time caregiver for my mom with Alzheimer's - these things were not so easily available to me.

This time of transition requires me to find ways to take care of myself and make sure that I don't get burned out by taking care of my mom.

Self-care during this time means carving out moments every week for the things that nourish me emotionally and spiritually even if it means sitting to watch reruns with my phone turned off.

Practicing self-care boundaries

As a caregiver, I've found that the best way to take care of myself and my loved ones is by practicing boundaries. Setting up boundaries not only helps me maintain control over what happens in my life; it also allows me to make better decisions about how I spend time with others. I know when something will drain or energize me.

If you're struggling with setting boundaries during your own personal change, some tips on where to start are:

  1. Create healthy zones around yourself so you can be there for those who need you most.
  2. Find activities that make you happy, whether it's going on a walk, reading a book, or cooking with friends.
  3. Make sure to get enough sleep every night - if not, the next day will be even harder!

The power of 'No'

Along with carving out space during this time of transition, I'm learning how to say "no." This has been incredibly difficult because as caregivers we tend to put the needs of our loved ones before our own.

For me, saying no means standing up for myself even if it's uncomfortable at first. For example, if someone wants something from me when it's not convenient or possible, I say no! This is how I am showing up for myself and protecting my time and energy instead of just protecting others.

Learning to give care to me

This 10-year journey as my mother's caregiver has been an uphill climb and not without a scrape or two. Learning how to take time for myself in moments throughout the day has helped me stay healthy so that I can continue on this journey as my mom progresses with Alzheimer's disease.

Learning how to transition into whatever comes next is challenging and difficult at times but, I am banking on my own self-care. Self care and taking time for myself is important. I plan on continuing my wellness practices when the caregiver role ends.

What would you push yourself to learn in an end of life situation? Tell in the comments below, or share your story with the community.

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