Resentment is an evil emotion that arrives with some buddies including guilt and sometimes anger. When you feel resentment creeping into your life, it’s a sign. It’s a sign that you need more me time in your life to energize your body and your spirit. A sign to find ways to integrate the activities you enjoy into your life…even while caring for others.
Much of the content on my site focuses on the little ways you can be happier and healthier while caregiving. The small, doable, and practical ways to savor daily life. But…there is also much enjoyment in planning, living, and remembering BIG events.
For my family, our big events in the past couple of years while caregiving have focused on traveling.
I’ve written before about how my family has traveled to make memories that linger and why we like doing this. You can read more about our past travels to Italy here (my first attempt at a blog!) and our trip to Ireland here. Clearly, we have been bitten by the travel bug.
This past month, we enjoyed an overseas trip to Barcelona and Paris while Natalie and Jacob where on their fall break. For a full run down of our itinerary and more photos of our trip, I invite you to go here to read up on the Barcelona part of our trip and here to hear about what we did in Paris. It was simply amazing.
Hindsight is 20/20
Back in 2014, Jason and I were both deep into caregiving for our parents. I often share about this emotional year since it was pivotal in our lives. Each of us lost a parent and my mom moved into an Assisted Living community nearby and we were juggling too many things. We were overwhelmed by all the responsibilities, decisions, and people that were depending on us.
The diamond in that rough year was our trip to Italy over the kid’s Thanksgiving break. A trip we had booked back in February of 2014, right before my mom’s spring hospitalization which kicked off what seemed like a never-ending series of tragic events.
Our mothers and extended families knew we had this trip planned and they were excited for us. It gave us all something to talk about besides chronic and terminal health issues. Jason and I did have conversations about whether we should go and we played out in our minds what we would do if Jason’s mom showed signs of her final days. His mom had lung cancer that declined her health over four years but we could certainly sense the end was near. She was losing a lot of weight and we were relying on daily home hospice help.
Enjoy the ‘Pause’ from Caregiving
Italy was not only our escape for our family woes for a brief time but looking back it was the uninterrupted family time we desperately needed between the four of us. We were all running in our own directions and we would have kept on running had we not had this pause or retreat from the crazy roller-coaster we were on.
Jason’s mom passed away just a week or so after we returned from our vacation. We were so grateful we could be there with her and truly believe it was no accident that she waited for our return.
My point of sharing this hindsight with you is that caregiving is a marathon not a sprint. We don’t have a crystal ball to know how long this journey will last and where it will emotionally and physically take us.
Our trip energized us. It gave us something to look forward to during dark times. It was an event on the calendar where we knew we could take a breathe and be together as a family unit. I really didn’t even plan what we were going to do when we got there. We just showed up! The kids read the travel books and marked the things they wanted to do. We used their notes as a guide.
Schedule time to Enjoy the Moments
We have our own lives to live and enjoy. It’s not an ‘either or’ situation where we can just focus on caregiving and put our lives on the back burner and resume them when caregiving ends. Integrating caregiving into our lives is essential or we will burnout.
We get one life to live. One chance to parent our kids where they are in this moment of time. Family relationships need nurturing. Our dreams need room to breathe. The bodies we’ve been given need nourishment and movement. Putting any of this ‘on hold’ while we focus on caregiving has detrimental effects.
If you need more of a pep talk on why self-care is vital, check out my Happy Healthy Caregiver Manifesto!
So, what are you waiting for?! Book the trip! Schedule the family activity! Ask your girlfriend to plan the girl’s night out! Take the class!
Sprinkle a bit of what you enjoy into your life and keep the resentment, anger, and guilt out of your life.
Believe in your heart that you will be a better version of yourself as a wife, mother, employee, and daughter when you pay your health and happiness first. If you don’t know this in your heart, just trust me and give it a try.
Notice what happens to your world and your relationships when you let go just a little and find time for what you enjoy. I can’t wait to hear how your experiment goes. I believe in you!