save yourself, save the world

I’ve taken care of the old, the young, the sick, and the crazy. It’s National Caretaker Appreciation Day.  GOOD caretakers deserve their own day. They deserve their own month (which they have, it’s November). 

I can tell you from experience that being a caretaker is physically and emotionally demanding. Most of us will play the role of caretaker at some point in our lives, whether it’s a child, a parent, another relative, a neighbor, a patient, or friend.  Here’s some advice.

  1. Take care of yourself too. Exercise, mediate, and eat well. If you’re weak,  sick or crazy, you’re no good to the person you’re helping.
  2. Make time for yourself. Take an hour off. Go to the movies, read a book, get a massage, or make origami.  You have needs too, fulfill them.
  3. There are other people in the world. Don’t neglect your other relationships.  Friends, family, those who love and support you will understand if you’re not as available as you once were, but if you forget them all together, they’ll forget you too.  Then 10 years later you’ll have to do that awkward, teary reunion conversation where you agree it was both your faults.
  4. If you aren’t being respected and appreciated, buy a plane ticket and fly your arse home.  Being a caretaker is a heavy load and even though most caretakers are there because their heart is connected to the patient, when it feels like abuse, you should hire a trained professional.  It takes patience and when yours is worn out, you’re not helpful to your patient. Give hugs, kisses, and a peace sign.

Celebrate today by thanking those who have taken care of you. If you’re a caretaker, celebrate yourself.  If it’s necessary, have that awkward teary reunion conversation. Remember save yourself, save the world and…