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Self-Care and Boundaries, Advocate Edition

Ever laugh at yourself? Like, really laugh? I did today. A caregiver advocate needs reminders, too.

I hit a wall on some family caregiving last night and with a pained smile remembered that not only was this bad for those I support, it’s a very bad example as an advocate. It’s not a luxury: put your oxygen mask on first.

Self care

Yep, I have been putting that last. Like many mothers, daughters and others before me I put everyone ahead of me because I considered myself the one best suited at every turn. It was hubris and prideful. Then when I was overwhelmed I didn’t ask for respite. And then I felt unappreciated and I whined. If any of this sounds familiar to you, then you know as a caregiver advocate I of all people should have anticipated that would happen. It is on me to have …

Boundaries

When everyone is under stress it is up to each of us to draw the line for ourselves. Popping a gasket isn’t something others do to us, it’s something we fail to recognize until we’re down the hole. Waiting for others to tell me when to stop leads to being taken for granted, being resented, and pushing others too far as well. I’m not a poor caregiver to do less, I’d be a worse one doing more.

So today I gave MYSELF permission to say no to non-life threatening gaps in support of my loved ones. I set my OWN limit on sleeplessness. I bought myself out of tasks that would have taken precious time. I sought support from my own network.

And I laughed. How funny that even the carers for carers can be the worst at the basics. A good reminder that it takes more than knowing what to do, it takes doing it!

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