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Between work, commuting and taking care of mother with Alzheimer's and cancer, I'm in a whirlwind. But on the weekends when I have a little time for myself, I find myself standing and staring at the floor. I can't seem to switch into "me" mode, then the weekend is gone.

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I couldn't believe it when I read the question. I could have wrote that. I had a couple of hours to myself yesterday. I threw in a load of laundry, did the dishes, and then kind of wandered aimlessly about the house. We recently got help from the Area on Aging, and I have yet to leave. I keep saying "next time". I didn't even answer the phone when it rang. I wanted to be alone. I didn't want to have to interact with anyone. I locked all the doors so my neighbor couldn't suprise me. I think it is much needed time to recharge as others have said. I think it is very important to just "be". We are human "be'ings not "do"ings. It makes me feel better to know its not just me, I was wondering if there was something wrong with me. Great question. It seems like I do spend a lot of time on this site since I found it. It is so wonderful to be albe to talk to people who truly understand what you are going through. Peace and Blessings, Vivian
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What is hard is not just the time but the expense of having hobbies or things that bring us joy....I find it hard to not focus towards my mom and kids with all my resources.
I know it is a false economy. They will all be gone in 5 years, and then what?
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Marilyn
It sounds like your mom is upset about the change of life/address and is taking it out on you, or hoping if she makes it difficult enough, youll abandon the idea. I'm not justifying it at all, this is just something I see in my mother sometimes.
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Me too! Even when I do something for me I can't enjoy it knowing the that I will get that disapproval when I return. My mother is 89 and mostly indepent except she doesn't drive anymore and lives with me. She has been with me a yr. and I still have trouble with that, but am starting not to care anymore. I feel that her attidudes and personality is changing my mostly optimistic view of life and I hate it. She is very negative and worries about everything, and wants control of it too. I am moving her into an independant living June 1st. She is so stubborn that she is refusing to ride the elevator one floor to the dining area even though the meals are part of her rent. She insists she will stay in her apt. and cook all her own meals and does not want to make new friends. All of this is to try to make me feel guilty. I have set my bounderies for how often I will go see her. She also refuses to pay the help to do her laundry or clean her apt.......guess what I am not doing it. And she will have to learn about the transportation they provid to appts. etc. Her place will be 10 miles from here, so I won't be at her mercy. This is still hard for me to stick too, but I am forcing myself. I have to do this. She could be happy if she let herself. We are not responible for anothers happiness just our own. Best of Luck!! God bless!! Marilyn
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I sometimes call to see if the babysitter is available and she takes the kids for a couple of hrs. Then hubby and I can have a real quiet time but with the stress of this and that we both end up napping when my son goes to kindergarten next year I will be able to keep this house in tip top shape and dealing with new anxiety of my son being away from me. I still have to limit my errands and I promise my daughter a date at the local chinese/cantonese restaurant but need to make the next few months balance out first before i do something like that but I get all of next wk with them which is what I wanted and of course spring cleaning if i beat this crazy head cold and submit pay stubs to finalize my case. I am thinking of appealing the cut of my food stamps but not prolly won't do it since the state mistakenly approve me for tanf when i didn't qualify. I am just tired and tired of the system ...I may not be taking care of a parent but I am taking care of a spouse slowly increasing to needing more help..yes did i mention I am on my 12th burnout cycle ...ur are not alone.
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Fortunately several years ago I volunteered for two different activities which take up only a couple of hours each week. When I have more time than usual, like you I feel lazy if I'm not doing something "constructive". However I did learn that even brief change of scenery can help bring back a sense of equilibrium so a visit to the library, or stroll through an antiques mall, even a eating a sandwich in your car while listening to the radio at an quiet small city park can help. Consider it a time to re-charge, it is better than becoming so overwhelmed that one may become embittered and spiteful of the circumstances.
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cattails... yes it is my daughter.. thank you for your response. I think that all of us who caregive family members have such an intimate relationship with them that to me the real burden is not necessarily the physical manual labor that we endure daily, of corse that is deffinately a factor, but it is the mental stresses and the realization that the person that we knew before, is just not the person that they are now. That to me is so major in how much physical strength, I have, to give at any given moment. I think it is amazing how drained I am, by emotional upheaval, I find it almost impossible to disconnect the past with the present. Trying to sweet "Lemonaide" ... with sour lemons just isn't possible...my trying to pretend that the lemonaide is sweet has at time been unbareable. But we all do what we have to, to go on to that next moment!! Right??? God's Blessing to you too! Thank you all for sharing !!
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Bbrady: I read your profile and I can relate to your feelings about care giving. What I deal with, giving my dad 24/7 care is exhausting. Nevertheless, I can't imagine the grief you carry with you everyday for the loss of your beautiful daughter. You didn't mention in your above comment that she is the one you are caring for. How utterly heartbreaking. God bless you and give you peace. I am so sorry for your loss and heartbreak.
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I have found the same exact problem... I think "wow, a couple hours of empty time"! This truley is a big deal.. empty time!!! The problem I come across is that I cannot organize my thoughts to prioritize the time. I have so many things I have put on hold that I wonder which one of the things can I do, in that allotted amount of time, and still feel as if I did something for myself. I waste more time trying to figure out what I want to do that by the time I go to do anything the time is slipping right by me. I find it hard to selfishly do something just for me.. a massage or shop... it is like I have to do something that would pertain to the house or grocery or errends that have been put on a back burner. Sometimes when I do go out and do something just for me I find my mind is agitated about having to go back home and assume the caregiver roll again. I miss my old life. I miss who I was and I feel the hate that I felt for those that abandon my daughter to pursue a "new personal life" of their own. I feel as though I am in a constant state of "LIMBO".... a "WHAT IF"... state that manifests into what my life is and has been for the last 5 1/2 years. I don't feel so alone right now... knowing that there are others out there that feel the same exact way!! Thank you for that great question!!
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I can relate as well. When I do have free time its to go grocery shopping or to run other errands. And when I do leave her for alittle while I'm constantly thinking about her. The only time that I feel relaxed is when I do alittle gardening and even then the flowers I plant are for her to enjoy as well. Take Care of Yourself Hugs to all Caregivers
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Amen, JaneB. It is good to give yourself permission to just "be".
Ironically, It takes a bit of practice. Hard to jump off the runaway train.
Learning to breathe deeply and beneficially is an art in itself, and very healing.
Peace, and space to enjoy it in, to all caregivers.
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I've been there too. It's the loss of structure from the demands of caregiving. Recognizing it is the first step. I determine how tired I am and if I want to just sleep for a while. I also prioritize activities by their complexity. Sleeping is at the bottom, television or movie watching is next, then housework and running errands, then reading and sewing. I start with the simplest activities and move on to the more complex. It takes me a while before I can settle into the complex activities since I need rest and some sort of distraction from my caregiving role before I can take on anything challenging.
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Oooh yes! I find myself doing the same thing..not like I don't have a million little things to do! I run what errands I have to but then there are time I just lay on the couch and sleep. We don't realize how emotionally exhausted we are....
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I find gardening to be relaxing and revitalizing. If you don't have the space for a regular garden, try a container garden planted with a mix of edible flowers and vegetables. You would be surprised what can fit into a half barrel sized garden.
Or give yourself the gift of a "spa" day. Let someone pamper you for a change!
A quiet walk in the park or just sitting and reading a good book with quiet music in the background is also soothing and relaxing.
It is hard to shift gears, but if you make it a part of your routine it will become easier to find "you" time. Good luck!
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Sometimes, stillness is more rejuvenating and exactly what we need. But if we judge ourselves for "doing nothing," it feels lazy rather than like the reboot we actually need. So see, next time your weekend includes staring at the floor, if you are actually recharging. That's ME time of a different nature. Funny thing is, if you enjoy instead of resist and judge it, you don't need as much of it!
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Actually, I feel "guilty" when I have a chance for me time...like I should be doing something else.

About a month ago, my mom was in the hospital for about a week and honestly, I think I was more stressed out and busy then than when she is at home. I always felt I had to go up to the hospital, always had to make sure everything was just so, I couldn't even sit down for 10 minutes without getting up looking for something to do.

The only time I really get out is when I have to do errands, I am gone for a few hours and frankly, it's the most peaceful time for me because. while I am still "doing" stuff, I am, at least, away from the apartment for a few hours.

*Hugs* for you .
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This is so much a part of my story. I wish I could "disconnect" when I had a few minutes off, but I can't. My mind is constantly on taking care of my mother, who has lived with me for over 5 years and is now almost totally incapacitated. It's as though I "can't" relate to anyone else and it has my husband and grown daughter pretty frustrated. They don't think I'm there for them and they're right. I wish I could find some balance. Thank you all for letting me vent.
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Sue: You are in Maine and I am in Washington state. Maybe I'm a wimp, but even here the winters are long. Take those walks with a friend. I really need a partner to help me get out the door and it does work. When I walk in the mornings, my husband is home to keep an eye on my dad. I couldn't do it otherwise. When the caregiver comes MWF, I use the time to do errands and grocery shopping or work on outside projects in the rain if need be. We are trying to get a greenhouse up and running. Started on it last summer, but so many times we can't get outside to work on it because of my dad and my husband's work schedule. It will get done eventually. Take care of yourself. Hugs, Cattails.
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I can relate, When I get a couple of hours off, I go to the grocery store, walk the dog, or look in TJ Max , try on shoes. Taking a walk with someone else to talk to would be good. Like you, I worry about my Mom while I am gone. It is hard to make plans with someone else because of different times. The people who work in the grocery store say hello and we talk , I'm in there so often !I'm sooo glad the winter is over! Good luck!
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Quagmire: I can relate to your comment. Sometimes I'm not sure what to do with myself and it's not like I don't have a million things to do. I'll get a couple of hours when the caregiver comes in and I can fill it running errands, grocery shopping, etc.

I have a friend up the road and we try to get walks in, weather permitting. I love the conversation and the 3 miles of fresh air. Good to connect with a friend and great for the mind to get the exercise. I must say, I have a hard time reading books now. Use to love too, but now it's hard to focus.

We put my dad is respite care for 3 days the end of Feb. We didn't go anywhere but that was fine because it was just so relaxing to be at home and not have to think about my dad in the 24/7 care giving mode. He's been living with us for almost 6 months.

I think we really can lose touch with ourselves on the journey. As others have said above, make a plan and go do it. I love to go to Farmer's Markets, maybe you do too. Get some fresh flowers and produce and invite a friend to dinner. Of course, that might seem like more work.

I do understand how you feel. At least you realize what you are feeling and that will allow you to work on some advance planning. Good wishes to you.
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PeeWee, of course you will think of your mom. No matter what we caregivers are doing, we think of our loved ones. And when our time for us is over, we know what we are returning to. But if we don't do these things just for us, we will have major burnout. I don't know how long being a caregiver is going to last for me but I do know that while my husband is alive, this is my reality. No, I don't like it - not my choice - but it is what I do now as well as filling days with things for me so I can be there for him.
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I feel the same way sometimes. When I finally do get 1 hour off, I go to the grocery store, or maybe take a shower. I might even accept an invitation to dinner, now that's really special! But no matter wher I go.... I'm always worried about my mom for the whole time that I'm away. Sometimes my mom won't go to the bathroom until I get back, in which case she usually wets herself by then, then I'm changing sheets , cleaning her and putting clean clothes on her. So, I say to mysel.... maybe I should just stay home? It might be a lot easier!
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During that hour, you can relax in a bubble bath, listen to soothing music, take a walk outside, get a manicure or pedicure...........................................or read a book! Make it something just for you alone!
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Poor baby:( Yes, I know what you mean. Not with caregiving, but when my kids were little, I was sick and had a lot of stress. I remember one weekend my husband took them on an excursion and I was just as you describe. I was a mess.
I think what might help is next time you are daydreaming about " what if", write it down. Plan a fun day for yourself: "what do I really want to do to enjoy myself"???lunch and a movie, museum and wine tour, take a trip to the zoo on the train, get a massage, manicure, pedicure, then buy a new outfit--whatever floats your boat. Use your Imagination. There is no limit, there are no rules... Plan something then get up early and GO DO IT, GIRLFRIEND!
Whoohoo! you can do it! Have a good time then come back and tell us what you experienced. Give yourself a positive name:) Hugs, Christina xo
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