November is National Family Caregiver’s Month!

This year’s theme is respite—and that is respite for the caregivers.

res·pite noun

a short period of rest or relief from something difficult or unpleasant.

“the refugee encampments will provide some respite from the suffering”

synonyms: rest, break, breathing space, interval, intermission, interlude, recess, lull, pause, time out

Respite is such a crucial element to sustaining your wellbeing as a caregiver. It protects your health—both mental and physical. You have to remember that you can’t take care of others unless you first take care of yourself.

Here are some tips from the Caregiver Action Network Website:

R

Rest and Relaxation. It’s important to schedule some R&R into your weekly planner so that you can stay refreshed as the days and weeks roll by.

E

Energize. You need more than just a few moments to breathe. You need to revitalize and reenergize your body and spirit. Do something for yourself to lift yourself back up to the level of energy and attention that you need to have to be a caregiver.

S

Sleep. Sleep. Sleep.

P

Programs designed to help you. The appointments you make need to be more than just for your loved one(s). It’s important for caretakers to attend programming that focuses on your wellbeing as well as your role as a caregiver.

I

Imagination. Your mind can get cluttered with all of the tasks you need to get done today, next week, and yesterday. When you take a break, let your imagination muscles stretch; watch a movie, read a book, or do something creative so that your mind gets to go somewhere else, somewhere very different from where you’ve been. It will refresh your mind so that you can come back feeling uncluttered.

T

Take five. Even when you are too busy to make much time for yourself, you can always spare five minutes. Recognize when you need to disengage for a little while, and do it.

E

Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Breathing is what fuels us. Don’t underestimate how powerful just a few focused breaths are.

For the original article on Respite, the theme of this year’s National Family Caregivers’ Month, and other important information and resources, visit the Caregiver Action Network’s website.