One late night at the emergency ward, my 15-year old daughter and I realized how burned out we had become caring for a loved one while neglecting ourselves. And looking around at the overwhelmed hospital staff, the crowd of people waiting with their loved ones, we could see that we were not alone.
My daughter said, "Mom, we should do something nice for people like us". We knew we needed to learn how to stay compassionate and strong through our journey as carers. We wanted to create something that had meaning, could inspire kindness to people and we also wanted to contribute to the causes that we were looking to for support.
One of those causes is the Canadian Mental Health Association and their excellent Peer Support Program.
Caregivers are the centre of a shift in the delivery of healthcare. We are now being sent home to care for our sick loved ones. It can be so isolating when we are living without supports to figure out our loved one's care plan, help them execute it, and somehow manage to continue to be good spouses, parents, friends - to be strong selves.
I used to think self-care was just taking a bubble bath. I thought self-care was an escape for people who couldn’t face the tough times. Now I know that self-care is the difference between a human experience and treating myself like a robot. I matter too - not just my loved one..in fact as long as I am the caregiver, I need to come first. And so do you.