How do you release your alertness?

gardenvessel

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For those of you who are sole caregivers and you are in a moment of rest between demands--whether it's a scheduled break or just stealing a minute--what do you do to really relax in that moment? How do you release the physical and mental grip of always being on alert and ready for the next request? Is there a mantra you say to yourself? Is it breathing exercises or tapping? Visualization/meditation? Or is it simply not possible and you do the best you can?

I'm not talking about activities for self-care here--that's pretty well covered. I'm wondering what you say to yourself during those activities, or how you flip the switch to put yourself into a mental state of "letting-go" enough to enjoy the self-care?
 

lgelb

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Hi, Erin, arguably "stealing a minute" or being in a position to focus on something besides your partner (like grocery shopping or other family) is the self care, and it's not enjoying it as much as being present for it. You don't have to release alertness, just put it in the back seat.

But maybe that's just me.

Best,
Laurie
 

ReginaS

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It really depends. I believe meditation and focusing on breathing was very helpful for me. However, I did not expect of myself to be right next to a person suffering from relatively fast progressing ALS with all its physical manifestations and be able to drop it all as soon as I had the (imagined) opportunity to do so. This was hard. ALS is heartbreaking and part of what makes it hard is that it is so real and relentless and that it takes its toll on all. I tried to accept that too. Then I tried to let go of my expectations that I should be able to drop these experiences and just focus on breathing. I tried to focus on breathing while the experience of this disease gripped my heart. It is what it is... also when I had a minute to myself. Kindness from friends went a long way. Truly hope that that you will read something in the responses to your question that helps you along. ♥♥♥
 

erinhazey

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This is one of the worst parts for me. The constant vigilance and never being able to fully relax, as the next 'request' is mere minutes away at any time. My brain hurts, my heart hurts, I have little patience. When I DO have a few minutes, I honestly just stare off into space. If we have a fire going, I put on headphones to block out all noise and stare into the fire. I repeat 'This Too Shall Pass' a million times, and I pray. Lots and lots of praying. For patience, for peace, for relief. I also have bird feeders in the backyard, and watching them for just a few minutes seems to bring a little release from the stress. Best wishes to you and yours. We're here for you and for each other! <3
 

KimT

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When I was a caregiver for both my parents and it got toward the end (last 6-8 months) I prayed. I was younger (under 40 with my dad and 40 with my mom) and I felt like I was living in a dream. I had zero time for myself. I was a self-employed CPA so I was able to work from home while my staff held down the office. Money was tight and I was working on my doctorate and writing a business math textbook for a major publishing company. That's when I took up running. They both could be left alone for an hour so I would run. I remember running and praying that all would be well when I got back home. Both had DNRs but that gave me no peace. It was hard and I was young and strong.

My mother's final words before slipping into a coma were, "go back in and work on your test bank." I think she needed me to let go first.
 

lgelb

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Kim, Erin is caring for Jen, who uses a vent; an hour of running is not always feasible for CALS.

But the point is well-taken to practice pursuits for their own sake that make you happy -- art, music, writing, reading, gardening, movement, whatever -- even in small bits. I think, though, that when you start thinking of it as escape rather than whatever else it is, it is less likely to serve you as well.
 
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