Caregivers need a break.
If you’re like me, you can’t leave, so how can you take a vacation? My idea is to treat myself to a “staycation”. It doesn’t need to be long but we can take time for ourselves. It’s important for our wellbeing as much as for our “charges”. I take a break when our paid caregiver is here, when my mom’s glued to a baseball game, or when my parents are sleeping.
This holiday weekend let’s think of some ways for a mini-break:
- Take a relaxing bubble bath. Snuggle down in warm, scented, water with a cool drink and a paperback book. Light some candles if you enjoy the ambiance.
- Have a picnic. Pack a special lunch. Make a fancy sandwich, add a juicy piece of summer fruit and a sweet treat like a cupcake. Spread a comfy blanket a sunny spot or beneath a shady tree. Feel the breeze. Pick some flowers. Wiggle your bare toes in the grass. Take a nap.
- Enjoy a cup of tea. Use your best china teacups. Spread a pretty tablecloth. Brew your favorite tea. Enjoy its aroma. My favorite is a loose Creme de Lady Gray my daughter-in-law bought for me. It has floral notes, the oil of bergamot scent and whatever they do to make it “creme” adds a bit of sweetness. Make sure to add a tea biscuit or cookie.
- Go for a “penny walk”. Every time you come to a choice of right or left turns, flip a penny. Heads, turn right; tails, go left. Make sure you can find your way home! We live in a forest so I’m lucky I’m able to take a walk in the woods.
- Do some gardening. I plant a garden every year. Sitting in the sun pulling weeds or harvesting my “crop” is relaxing. It’s time spent away from the bell summoning me when my parents need care. It’s time in the sun and quiet solitude.
- Invite a friend for a visit. If we can’t go out, we can invite someone in. Enjoy an afternoon or evening of chatting and laughing.
- Watch your favorite movie. Make popcorn or the movie treat you like best.
- Do you live in an area that has fields of “you-pick” crops? I live close to a blueberry field. I spend a few hours picking, then enjoy fresh blueberries. You can find out if there are you-pick places near you by checking out, http://pickyourown.org/
- Go for a swim. This is my favorite summer activity. Is there a lake, river, beach or community pool nearby? I find swimming so relaxing. My stress floats away on the water.
I realized I was so cut-off from others for a time, it was distorting my perceptions of my life and the future. We began hiring a caregiver on Sundays so I could attend church with my husband. I get to see and be with other people, enjoy time in worship—an activity guaranteed to get your mind off yourself. After church, we go out to lunch. It has been a sanity and mood saver.
We have also said “yes” when friends offered to elder-sit so my husband and I can go on a date. When friends offer to help, let them!
Is there an activity you especially like that gives you a mini-staycation?