Damn I needed that! Feels like a ton of weight has been removed! YES my fellow caregivers, after years of blockage, I finally took a shift today. Several shifts actually. And I feel sooo much better. I’d like to share with you what my shift consisted of- ME. That’s right, my shift was made up of ME. Here’s what it was like:
I got up this morning and took care of breakfast for mom, fed the pets and while having my coffee, I sat in front of mom, asked her to please mute her squawk box (tv) and clearly explained to her that today between X and X (two hours) I will be unavailable because I will be taking a massive shift. I told her I would be available after X o’clock until X at which time I will again be unavailable while I relieve myself with another two hour shift. I nicely explained that while I am shifting, she will have to get up to get her ice water if she wanted it, that if the remote fell she would have to pick it up, if kitty wants out she will have to oblige kitty by getting up and opening the door, if someone rings the doorbell well hot damn it will be up to her to answer it or not, etc.. I emphasized to her how much EVERYONE HATES it when their shift gets interrupted, she agreed, I said good, thank you mom and went about taking my shift. One word my friends- EPIC!
When you take a shift, that is YOUR time- you don’t share your shift with others, or only with others worthy of your shift if you choose to share it. Prepare your LO for your shift time, plan your shift as much as possible so it’s not interrupted. Make sure everyone is fed, propped up facing the squawk box, has fresh water and whatever else and then get to it- take your much earned shift for the next two hours. The relief a good shift brings is paramount to your well being and sanity.
In order for success, we can only take small bites of the elephant instead of one huge chomp of the elephant. Making sure you routinely shift will make each bite more flavorful.
Well, gotta go, almost done taking my shift!
ps- my point for those who missed it- since we can’t escape our caregiver roles for days or months for respite, incorporate breaks for yourself into your daily routine duties several times a day; stay flexible, but even one hour for YOURSELF can save your MENTAL HEALTH!