This week, Women At Woodstock welcomes guest blogger, Ann Shannon. She shares some of her story on becoming a caregiver and the importance of self-care.
Caregivers: Take Care of Yourself
Not long ago, I became a caregiver for my Mom. She suffered a stroke, which led to complete paralysis on her right side. Thankfully, she has retained her speech and movement on the left side of her body, albeit slow and cautious. To be honest, I never thought too much about being a caregiver. I consider myself fortunate that both of my parents are here while many of my boomer generation have already endured the loss of loved ones. Perhaps I took it for granted all these years, because when I was faced with the possibility of losing a parent, I found myself frightened and confused. I had no road map to successfully navigate all the feelings that came up, while simultaneously caring for my Mom.
One of the things that I’ve learned during these difficult months is that a patient’s recovery begins when they accept their condition and make a conscious decision to move toward healing. The recovery process is unfolding for my Mom and for me. She has excellent care with her physical therapy and at-home visits from nurses and doctors. This reassurance has allowed me to see the importance of caring for myself. I found that taking on a caregiver role requires self-love and patience. So, I’ve introduced small changes in my daily life, such as eating more healthfully, getting extra rest and drinking more water. Enjoyment has become a priority as well- dancing, reading and writing when I find small pockets of quiet time, and meditating to keep myself centered. All of these pieces are now a part of my personal wellness campaign for a healthful and happy care-giving life.
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Ann Shannon is the author of e-books: Write to Relax Now: Mental Relaxation for Writing that Masterpiece and Teaching the GED class. She is currently working on a book about chidren’s education.