When I was a caregiver, I asked myself “How can I balance the serious nature of my work while maintaining my spiritual, mental, emotional and physical health?”
I can pray, but how often does prayer give me the immediate relief I need?
When I don’t take care of myself it shows. I’m short with everyone, and wear a permanent scowl. I have dark circles under my eyes, I eat junk food all day long, you get the picture.
I start to wonder why I haven’t heard back from God with my care package of patience, tolerance, and love.
When I pause long enough, I realize that God did not abandon me without adequate tools for my job. How many times each day do I laugh out loud? What stops me?
I started to ponder these questions. I began to think of my role as care taker and decided to looked at it like any other job. A smile crossed my face when I realized that caregiving would be in demand for the foreseeable future. Could I really have a hot commodity on my hands and not even know it?
I began to ponder the essential skills and abilities required to be successful in this field.
· Time management (three meals/day; trips to the bathroom; bathing; nurse, nurse practitioner and doctor visits; staying on top of the television schedule and visitation schedule; scheduling massage therapy)
· Communication skills (deciphering medical terminology; decoding medication induced conversation; listening to complaints about nurses, practitioners, doctors, what’s on TV, who came to visit, and the massage therapist)
· Blue collar mentality (emptying the bedside commode, changing diapers, changing clothes, changing the batteries in the remote). Salary for my position will remain steady for the next two decades. Benefits include high stress, low energy and lack of exercise including loss of personal life.
Retirement benefits include:
Having my own caregiver. Teaching my caregiver the benefits of time management, communication skills and a blue collar mentality.
· No money in the bank · Hypertension, chronic fatigue, and no friends.
The good news is there are three meals a day, my own bathroom and adjustable bed, a flat screen TV w/ remote, more nurse and doctor visits than the law allows and the occasional massage! Did I mention I get my own bedside companion?
In all seriousness, my most underused and valuable tool is laughter.
I spend so much time and energy caring for others and forget to take care of myself. Before I know what hit me I am on the brink of emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical bankruptcy.
Laughter can provide that quick fix.
It takes practice for me to look for and find the humor in a given situation, but one thing is for sure, it is there. So, here is the challenge. How long will it take before you can laugh out loud three times per day? It is the best medicine out there and on my salary, the only one I can afford!
With Love and Gratitude