Posted in Caregivers, Caregiving, Encouragement, Family, Health, Inspiration, Lifestyle, People, Relationships, Travel, Women

No Time Like the Present

My longtime girlfriend has been living in Dallas, TX for at least 7 years. She relocated there after accepting a promotion with the company she’d been working for in our hometown.  Once down there, she met her current husband and they’ve since started a family. Dallas is clearly her home now. As most of her family is here in Michigan, she comes to visit once or twice a year. However, her time is usually consumed with family so I never get to spend much time with her.

I don’t know why it never occurred to me to go visit her. Actually…I do.

Before I started visiting my husband on weekends he was out of town for work or attending a conference for my sorority, I was not really into traveling. The only trips that I took my children on was 5 hrs away to Chicago and across the bridge to Canada to enjoy an indoor waterpark. Traveling was not something I fit into my vacation or financial planning.

This past summer a friend invited my son to go on a trip to Disney World with her family. I didn’t want him to miss out on the opportunity but I was hesitant. First, he’d never been on a plane before. Second, he expressed fear about getting on a plane. So I decided that his first flight needed to be with me. Around this same time, I was on the brink of caregiver burnout and didn’t see a way to give myself a real break.

Lo and behold, the company I work for hosts an annual conference in Dallas that I always say that I’d like to attend. Why hadn’t? There was no good reason. So this year I took the opportunity to kill three birds with one stone: attend the conference, visit my friend, and take my son on his first flight.

Everything was awesome. That Dallas September heat was no joke but it was so good to be away from home. To be a guest in my friend’s home. To wake up on Saturday morning and not have to think about what I was going to cook for breakfast for myself or anyone else! My friend and her husband took good care of us.

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My son in the co-pilot seat

 

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A round of miniature golf in the hot Dallas son with my friend’s family
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Go-Kart racing
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Partial group family pic…my friend’s husband was MIA
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Taking a break from the conf. Enjoying a book in the pool
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My son getting his swim on
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Mom & Son chilling at the pool

The question that repeated through my head was, “Why’d it take you so long to do this?”

I have another girlfriend who’s been living in Atlanta for the last 7 yrs. Besides going down for her wedding five years ago, I haven’t been there for a real visit. After I visit family in Tennessee next year, Atlanta will be my next stop.

It’s funny how, in theory, we know that tomorrow is not promised. Still, we tend to live our lives like we have all the time in the world. My husband’s diagnosis with a life-threatening illness changed my perspective. Although  supporting him through this illness doesn’t allow me to a lot of time to do as much as I’d like, I still make a point to do as much as I can.

Is there anything you’re putting off for tomorrow that you need to be doing today? Share in the comments  below.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

 

Posted in Caregivers, Fitness, Health, Lifestyle

Wellness Wednesday For Caregivers

Yes, I have a particular interest in caregiving these days. Perhaps because I fell into the role about eight months ago. And even in that short time I can attest to the devastating effects it can–NO, it does take on the caregiver’s life. At forty years old, a divorced, married, divorced, and married again mother of two, I’ve experienced my share of ups and downs and this, is, by far, the hardest thing that I’ve ever had to deal with.

But there’s good news!

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President Obama declared November 2015 the first National Family Caregiver Month and the Internet is splattered with resources to help family caregivers, first take care of themselves, so that they are better prepared to take care of their loved one.

So for my Wellness Wednesday post, I’d like to share some of the things I’ve implemented in my life is to avoid burnout and live while I’m helping my sick loved one.

  1. Going to the doctor for myself. I’ve never been to so many doctor offices in my life. And that’s including my children’s’ well baby exams and impromptu urgent care visits. But once I realized that I needed to get involved with my husband’s medical care, I started attending every doctors’ appointments. Several months had gone by before I realized I hadn’t made time for my own annual physical!
  2. Make the most of my time. I’m a caregiver who also works a full time job. Since home is also a place of work–it kind of already was being a wife and mother–I tried to get as much done during my nine hours away from home. I try to write or read during my lunch time or other down time at work. I use breaks for exercising (.i.e. walking or hula hooping, stretching, or dancing).
  3. Have some fun. Honestly, it took me some time to not feel guilty when I had to get out and have some fun that didn’t involve my sick loved one. I felt like I was being selfish, leaving him home. But a light bulb went off in my head when I realized that when my loved could get out without me to enjoy himself, he did just that and didn’t appear guilty about in the least. So why wouldn’t I? Besides, whether sick or not, each of us only has one life to live. A caregiver can’t give theirs up completely because their loved one is sick.
  4. Pamper yourself. Hair appt. Manicure/pedicure. Massage. Facial. In caregiving, you’re doing all if not most of the giving. You must take time out to let someone do something for you. Minimum once a month.
  5. Pray/Meditate. This should be at the top of the list. God is a healer, a comforter, a way maker; your strength in times of weakness. EVERYDAY you must engage in time with Him. Start and end your day with thanksgiving and praise because, believe it or not, your situation could be worse.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

(c) LaCharmine (L.A.) Jefferson 2015