During the current COVID-19 pandemic with its social restrictions, many of us find ourselves with far too much time at home. We cannot get out and go like we are accustomed to doing, and we are far more isolated than many of us would like. Ironically, this is the world in which most full-time family caregivers find themselves regularly. COVID-19 may not have changed your daily routines so much except for hand-washing frequency. For most of the world, the season of social distancing and self-quarantining will come to an end after a season, but for many family caregivers, one day flows into another with no end in sight. Burnout is very real and can quickly happen if you don’t have an opportunity to take a break every now and then to recharge your batteries. Let’s face it, you need a vacation from caregiving!
Vacations are beneficial for everyone. While everyone can’t all afford to hop on a plane or drive far away annually for a week or two, everyone needs a break from time to time. For best effect, your time away needs to be more than a few minutes or hours. A real vacation requires several days to get away and clear your head. Chris and I find we need the first two or three days of our time away to stop thinking “work thoughts” and move into mental free space. The value of this kind of time away is immeasurable on every level of your life.
Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and socially we all need this kind of break every so often. Taking a real break from your daily routine as a caregiver can give you more energy physically, more mental clarity, better emotional balance, a stronger spiritual bond, and feed your social animal. Click here for more details. All these benefits can’t be denied and are clearly desirable, but as a family caregiver, you might feel like a vacation is an impossible goal for you in this season of life.
Always remember, where there’s a will, there’s a way! Have you prepared for others to step in when you cannot be there? If not, begin now to work toward that plan. You are not alone in caring for another; perhaps adult children or friends or neighbors can come alongside to learn your routines so you can have some time away.
You also have many brothers and sisters who follow the same caregiving path as yours. Reach out and find a support group in your community or online where you can ask for advice or resource suggestions. Even a professional home care service like Home Instead can provide respite care that will let you get away for several days to restore yourself. Vacation time is every bit as important as time away for medical procedures or personal obligations. Planning is the key to your success.
Chris and I hope you’ll join us this week here at Heart of the Caregiver and share your heart about making time for a well-deserved vacation.