The Downside of Doing it All
Caregiver multi-tasking seems like a necessity. Like mothers of small children, caregivers have to become adept at multi-tasking. Otherwise, how would we ever get anything done? However, when we’re constantly doing one thing and our minds are occupied with what we need to do next, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Our frustration can lead to emotional outbursts that can be scary to the people around us.
Many years ago I attended a seminar presented by Jim Rohn, author of the book, “The Art of Successful Living”. He shared a lot of great ideas, most of which I’ve forgotten, except for this one statement: “Wherever you are – be there.” He said, “When you’re with your family, don’t be thinking about work. When you’re at work, give it all of your attention, and don’t be thinking about your family or other things.”
It’s a simple idea, but it’s been hard for me to implement because I have been a compulsive multitasker for decades. The problem with caregiver multi-tasking is that when our minds and hands are always busy, it is impossible to be fully present and attentive to the people in our care. As we look at the journey ahead, we must acknowledge that there will be changes.
If we’re lucky, we’ll have some events to celebrate. We will almost certainly have losses to mourn. Although we won’t ever have power over the progression of a loved one’s disease, we can choose to set aside a little time each day to connect with him/her. We can turn off the TV and talk during a meal. We can go for a walk or engage in another activity that relieves stress and brings a little pleasure. We could even take a few minutes to give our care receiver a gentle massage.
It takes some effort to calm your mind long enough to fully engage, but if you can do it, perhaps when your caregiving journey comes to an end, rather than regretting the times you lost your cool when you were trying to do too much, you will be able to celebrate the magical moments you shared when you were able to relax and be present in the moment.
For more ideas on how to care for yourself while caring for others, please click on this link: