Why is it important to help caregivers?
It’s a cliche’ for a reason - whenever you board a plane, they tell you that in case of an emergency, put on your own oxygen mask first so that you can breathe while helping the person next to you. When we are caregiving, we often forget to breathe. We don’t think about our own metaphorical oxygen masks - are we getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, exercising, getting fresh air, connecting with friends - we are just thinking about what we need to do for the person we love. We often think of our own needs as selfish because they require thinking about ourselves.
Discerning between selfishness and self-care is key to our caregiving experience. It is the difference between being healthy as a caregiving and providing the best care we can, or sabotaging our health and lowering our ability to care well for others.
As caregivers, we all need to be checking our oxygen masks and practicing self-care daily.
A little self-care goes a long way. And no self-care is well, not so good.
When we help other caregivers by thanking them and connecting them with resources, we are letting them know that it is okay for them to receive care.
We are letting them know that they are strong and resilient, but that we all need our own oxygen and to breathe.