As a carer, I was constantly looking after my wife's physical, emotional and social needs. I don't regret it at all however it does drain you, physically, emotionally and socially as a carer. It was actually my wife who encouraged my 'self care' and reminded me to take some personal time away from her cancer and her needs. Friends generously offered to assist in my absence. Self care is 'the gift I gave myself', when I could, with time away from all of my carer responsibilities, without guilt.
Friends offered to look after my wife for an hour or two when she had limited mobility. I said, 'Yes!' and had a coffee in a local cafe, went for a walk on the beach, visited one of my favourite stores or just meditated by the beach.
I exercised at the gym or walked on the beach by myself when I could. The endorphins released when you are exercising help minimise depression.
I needed to 'recharge my internal batteries'.
Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash
I found a counsellor to talk to about my grief. I met quite a few before I found some-one who was just right for me. I had two wonderful counsellors at one stage! I asked our General Practitioner (GP) for a referral to a counsellor. Usually your GP knows you quite well. Contact Lifeline or Beyond Blue (Australia Only).
(Photo by Etienne Boulanger on Unsplash)
I loved going to the Grand Final for Australian Rules Football. That one day became quite sacred in our household that was the one day every year that I had no responsibilities. Also, I would plan going to the movies at least once every couple of months too with a very supportive friend. 😎 (Yes, I did want to go ballooning at one stage!)
I often mediated by the beach and I will be very honest and say that there were days that I struggled to look after my mental health.
Alexis Wallace has shared some stress relieving insights similar to what I use, when I meditate.
(Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash)