How to Avoid Caregiver Fatigue in Motherhood

Today was a much better day than yesterday. The difference was, I actually took time to take care of myself. I didn’t do anything fancy – no spa day, no massage, no girls night out. Instead, I left the kid at home with his dad, drove myself to my scheduled pelvic floor rehab appointment, turned the radio up and sang my heart out the whole way there.

It’s a thirty minute drive, so I made sure to enjoy myself.

After the appointment, I took myself to lunch, walked around my favorite street in Santa Monica, got a green smoothie at my favorite smoothie shop and called my best friend to catch up (uninterrupted) the whole way home.

When I got home, Brayden didn’t celebrate the fact that I was home.

He seemingly didn’t even notice I had been gone.

All I got was a casual smile and he kept going about playing with his dad like he was doing before I walked in. It was a breath of fresh air. It was everything I needed and more.

Sometimes I put too much pressure on myself to be “everything” for everyone I feel responsible for. I forget to step away some days and rarely take the time I used to, to take care of me in this new stage of my life.

Motherhood is intense.

Being a caregiver to anybody who needs you day in and day out is HARD WORK.

But, here’s the thing… Caregiver fatigue is real and it weighs heavily, taking a toll on us and our own health and happiness over time. It’s not worth it and only we have the power to do something about it before it’s too late. Ask for help if you need it.

Do something for yourself everyday.

We can’t be everything for everyone else if we fall apart, breakdown, crash and burn.

I’ve seen it before a million times while working in the ER as a nurse. So many family members who are doing everything in their power to take care of their children, their elderly parents, their sick spouse – whatever it is, it’s hard work.

If you don’t take the time to take care of yourself – eventually you won’t be able to take care of those who need you most, at all.

Even the airlines instruct you to put your own oxygen mask on first.

So, I think you get the gist of what I’m getting at.

This is me, encouraging you, to do something for yourself – EVERYDAY – if you can. It doesn’t have to be much, but whatever it is, I want you to enjoy the heck out of yourself even if it’s only for a few minutes a day.

Here are some ideas of how to prevent caregiver fatigue from happening to you.

They’re simple & They’re free:

  • turn the radio up, sing your favorite songs at the top of your lungs
  • dance if you’re feeling up for it
  • meditate
  • take a nap
  • take a long hot shower or warm bubble bath
  • read a book (ok, maybe a chapter)
  • call a friend
  • go outside and take a walk around your neighborhood
  • have a picnic in the park
  • head to the gym, go to yoga, spin class, pilates – whatever it is you enjoy doing to get your body moving
  • cook yourself a nourishing meal
  • make a smoothie
  • head to the beach, the mountains, a local park
  • …. i could keep going but I want you to get creative here and find what works for you.

I spent 4 hours away from home, away from my 4 month old son. As a new mom, that’s hard to do. But honestly I would have loved to stay out longer, but I’m still breastfeeding and can only go so long without feeding or pumping – so at this point in my life – I’ll take what I can get.

Long story short – take care of yourself.

Yesterday I didn’t change out of my pajamas until 4pm. & all I did was take a shower and put on new pajamas because that’s all I had time to do while the kid was demanding everything from me.

Yesterday, I ended the day depleted, exhausted, on the brink of tears.

Today I prioritized myself, and I feel like a whole new person.

When I got home I was in a great mood (self care will do that to you), and as a result I was able to keep it going. We went for a walk to the park, enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine and we’re all in a better mood now because of it. The best part was, I genuinely enjoyed my time with him so much more today.

Some days are better than others, I get that. But the sooner you start prioritizing yourself, the easier they’ll become. Even I need to remind myself of this time and time again.

Self care takes work too.

But, it’s so worth it.

No matter where you’re at right now, just remember – tomorrow is a new day and another chance to try again.

x, bri

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