Straight from a Caregiver's Mouth

Francesca Silva

AMGT_caregivers_12.10.08.JPGRecently, I read an article on the benefits of yoga for caregivers and it really resonated with me. I’ve been working from home for the last four years while caring for my aging mother, who lives with my husband and me.

Although my 91-year-old mother still, as she puts it, “has all my marbles,” she’s becoming less active and more dependent on me as time passes. And my ‘Mumsie,’ always known for her sweet nature, is also becoming increasingly defiant, especially toward me.

While that’s understandable (“you always hurt the one you love” sort of thing), it’s hard for me to deal with. As a result, I’ve become more stressed and irritable, and occasionally find myself unable to cope, even with simple routines. I know exactly what it feels like to lose your self-confidence when everything revolves around the person you’re caring for.

My husband, who’s a huge support to both Mumsie and me, has the patience of a saint – but even saints have their limit! He’s been telling me for months to find time for myself by going out and taking some classes in the evenings, when he will be at home to make sure Mumsie’s okay. He says, quite rightly, that in order to care for Mumsie properly, I need to take care of myself. I sure knew what I was doing when I married him!

With this in mind, I’ve been waffling for ages about possibly taking a yoga class to learn how to focus on myself and find a calm and positive frame of mind. And now that my body’s going through the dreaded mid-life stage, a little exercise won’t hurt either! The weight doesn’t roll off as easily as it did before and I could do with losing a few pounds, which was never a problem for me in the “good ol’ days.” It would be so nice to be able to see my feet again without my stomach getting in the way!

So this morning, I pulled out my local community guide, checked the yoga classes and – before I could change my mind yet again (I’m a Libra…can’t you tell?) – I signed up for my first yoga class. There – I’ve done it. It’s funny – just signing up for the class has made me feel better about myself, so I can’t wait to see how participating in the actual class is going to make me feel.

Here goes…I’ll keep you all posted as I go on my restorative journey through the world of yoga.

[tags]benefits of yoga, take a new yoga class, how to focus, mid-life stage, yoga class for local community, yoga world, first yoga class[/tags]

4 Responses to “Straight from a Caregiver's Mouth”

  1. Linda says:

    I agree with your assessment of how yoga might benefit caregivers. I tried yoga once years ago and could not get into it. Now, after caring for my aunt who died from breast cancer and preparing myself to care for my aging parents, I am in the process of finding a good yoga and/or meditation instructor. The toll the primary caregiving takes on one physically, emotionally, and psychologically is tremendous. Something like yoga will definitely be a step to taking care of oneself so that you are more prepared to care for others.

  2. Francesca says:

    Thanks for responding to my blog. Yes, the toll of being a primary caregiver really is tremendous, and I think we’re often so busy caring for our loved ones that we forget how important it is to find time for ourselves so that we can stay physically and emotionally healthy. I’ve only taken a few yoga classes so far but am already finding it very beneficial. I wish you the best of luck in finding a good yoga and/or meditation instructor and would really enjoy receiving updates from you on how things are going. Take care.

  3. Segovia says:

    I agree, the idea of taking care of yourself before other is almost universally accepted as simple common sense, yet it seems that in reality it meets so much resistance and people tend to ignore their own bodies and their health when caring for others.

    There’s good reason for the fact that during the first five minutes of a flight they always instruct you to please put the oxygen mask on yourself before assisting others.

  4. I totally agree about reaching out to further our awareness of how to support ourselves.

    We must firtst support ourselves before we can support others around us and remembering that it is good to take the time for ourselves. A “Time Out”, which most of us caregivers forget to do whether you are caring for your parent or child.

    Even if you are not able to go out to a class, there are many other sources that you may want to look into, such as Podcasts, online videos, DVDs etc.

Leave a Reply