Over the past few months, I’ve had an opportunity to practice my own self-care in the middle of an unexpected family crisis. This season is requiring I provide care for my aging Mother and actively participate in the “sandwich generation”.
In August, my 83 year-old Mom fell and fractured a lower vertebrae. She is in early stage dementia and was moved to a nursing facility for rehab. In September, Mom fell again and broke her neck, resulting in a major setback to her recovery.
As Power of Attorney, I’ve been spending significant time coordinating her care, handling her finances, and making future living arrangements. It’s been a struggle to care for myself and maintain my quality of life.
This challenge has offered a great opportunity for me to be intentional in practicing self-care while caring for the needs of my Mom. I committed to four activities every day:
Physical: I exercise at least 1 hour. It doesn’t matter what I do as long as I’m moving.
Mental: I limit commitments to what’s a priority. I need to save my mental energy for caring for myself, my Mom, and my immediate family.
Emotional: I maintain my boundaries with relatives and focus on staying objective. When under stress, it’s easy to get pulled into unnecessary family drama.
Spiritual: I keep a gratitude journal and write at least three things each morning that I’m grateful for.
It’s been a challenge to maintain these daily practices! Finding time to care for myself can be difficult, even when I know it’s the right thing to do. My expectations are high and I’m tempted to sacrifice my own self-care to spend more time caring for my Mom.
This season has provided the opportunity to be compassionate with myself. I’m doing the best I can with the time and resources available to me. I can’t beat myself up for the things I’m not doing.
How do you care for yourself during a family crisis? What can you do differently to make this happen?