S Support system; friends, family, healthy people
T Talk; self-talk, talk with others
R Rest, relax; practice deep breathing, visualization
E Exercise; do something physical to relieve tension
S Stay in the present; avoid “what ifs?”
These suggestions are just the beginning. There are many more things you can and should do for yourself.
According to Dr. Martha Daviglus, a professor of preventive medicine and medicine at Northwestern University, Chicago, and a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association, “The link between caregiving and increased cardiac risk seen in the study was predictable, … We see the same burden in caring for someone with
Whether it is a physical or emotional “broken heart,” all caregivers suffer. There are thousands of books and articles on this problem and yet, caregivers continue to struggle. I am not so blind as to believe any story will save the day. If, however, I reach one of you who struggles, with love, to care for another, it is enough. Be kind to yourself. Stop judging the inadequacy of your efforts. You are not failing your charge, just yourself.
Roderick MacIver, artist and founder of Heron Dance says the following. I agree. “We each have a spiritual current that runs through our lives--a river. Connected to that current, our work, our life, has power… When you turn your back on the current of your life, you are on your own. You are coming at life believing that you are strong enough, powerful enough on your own… Being in touch with the spiritual current means first being able to listen to oneself, being in sync with oneself. Work of the spirit requires strength of spirit.” (Heron Dance, Issue 13, 1996).
And strength of the spirit requires a connection to our self. Check in with that beautiful face staring back at you in the mirror…