Things That Drive a Caregiver Crazy: #1 Being Told to “Take Care of Yourself”

Family caregivers know they need to take care of themselves. It can be so irritating when you’re repeatedly told to do just that! I mean, it’s like people think we’re totally clueless. My video brings that issue to light. I also share what I like to do for me and how I respond when I get told to take care of myself.

What do you do when you’re repeatedly told to take care of yourself?  Share here so we can all enjoy and learn from you!

6 thoughts on “Things That Drive a Caregiver Crazy: #1 Being Told to “Take Care of Yourself”
  1. Carole Brecht
    Posted on April 13, 2016 at 8:46 am Reply

    I did not experience this. I mainly had the opposite so I would’ve appreciated someone telling me you need to “do” self-care. This is all in hindsight. I do promote self-care in The Sandwich Woman Community (my social media platform) facebook, twitter & Instagram regularly and people appear to respond positively with this important topic. My ebook on my Caregiver journey is due out this week. I hope you check it out. My best to you and thank you for sharing your view.

    • Deb Kelsey-Davis
      Posted on April 13, 2016 at 9:09 am Reply

      Carole, thank you for sharing your experience. I agree that almost everyone who told me to care for “me” was well-intentioned. They really meant it! The problem was that I was so overwhelmed, stressed, etc. that I couldn’t imagine when I could possibly carve time out to do anything for me. So many caregivers out there have relayed similar experiences, of being repeatedly told but without any of those who made the statement spending any of their time talking with them about why we aren’t caring for self. Many would prefer not to be told to do something, but rather have offers to help free up just a bit of time to give us that breathing room…or set up time with us to go for walks or a cup of coffee…etc. So, don’t get me wrong…I’m all about promoting the need for self-care. It’s essential. I think we can start to make those friends and family more aware of what might be really helpful to supporting a caregiver and making it more possible for time for self care…through offers, suggestions on specifics or comforting support. Honestly, many a day I would have appreciated a hug and 15 minutes of someone listening to me (which is also self-care) than to be quickly told I needed to take of myself and then that person disappearing to go about their own business. Good luck on your ebook. Your work is very important! Deb

  2. Dorie Sugay
    Posted on April 13, 2016 at 11:43 am Reply

    We run into a lot of family who are overwhelmed beyond what is healthy. I relate to your irritation when someone says ‘take care of yourself’ but instead of irritation, step back and ask yourself – why do they keep saying that? They do because they see that you need to. When one is overwhelmed, it is like not seeing the forest through the trees. Sometimes other people need to hear it multiple times to get it or even to get focused on the fact that they need to do something because as you know, sometimes one knows they need a break but don’t do something about it. There is NEVER any viciousness when someone says “take care of yourself”–all that is behind that is care, love, concern and that should not be returned with irritation but with gratitude. Sure, some people are lip synching the words – and you will know who those are if you seek their help in figuring out how. In fact – perhaps the next time it pushes your buttons you can say, “got any ideas how I can do that–would you be willing to stand in for me for half a day on Saturday?” Or “how I would love to but I frankly am unsure how to go from here” and maybe they have ideas. Or they will stop saying it because they are not as concerned as you deserve them to be. we tell our client’s families to let it go and trust us enough to take advantage of the time we are there, to take care of themselves.

    • Deb Kelsey-Davis
      Posted on April 13, 2016 at 12:32 pm Reply

      Dorie, wonderful insights and advice! Thank you for sharing.

  3. Theresa Crandall
    Posted on April 18, 2016 at 10:37 am Reply

    Hi Deb — I realize when people say to “take care your yourself” it is usually with well intentions. I belong to an online support group where most of us feel the same way and that is that we are the main caregivers and it gets hurtful and frustrating when the people who are saying this are family members who don’t proactively help with the loved one either once in a while or on a consistent basis. It is a avery easy thing to say and makes the person who says it sound very caring. But at times, I feel the statement frees them from feeling responsibility. Yes, caregivers know it is important to take care of oneself, but when there is little or no help offered it is easy for many caregivers to become resentful. In order to not harbor resentful feelings, I think it is necessary not to “expect” help because many times you are left disappointed. Instead focus on what is needed at hand and find support from elsewhere. Caregivers need to make peace with this. I find it very alarming when caregivers feel totally hopeless. There have been instances when they have taken their own lives leaving behind not only their loved one but their own young family. More needs to be done to help caregivers. It is necessary as you say to “schedule” time for yourself even if it’s a 20-minute quiet nap. We need a network of people who are willing to help one another find the time so that caregivers can “rejuvenate.” Prayer is very powerful and I believe in miracles. With prayer, God will provide you with inner strength you didn’t think you ever had. I am interested in knowing what your 5-minute prayer video is. Thank you for sharing.

    • Deb Kelsey-Davis
      Posted on April 18, 2016 at 2:09 pm Reply

      Hi Theresa, your comments contain much insight and wisdom. I really appreciate you sharing from your own experiences. It breaks my heart to hear of caregivers who become so despondent and stressed that they suffer medical issues of their own, as a result…or worse, take their life. Sadly, it happens far more often than many realize. I’d love to get your thoughts on several of the initiatives I’m involved in, to advocate for caregivers getting help and support. I’ll reach out to you by email. In the meantime, the video I watch is called Gratitude, by Louie Schwartzberg. I posted it here in my Family Caregiver Community on Facebook. Stop by and visit, if you’ve not already done so…hopefully you’ll find some things there that can be of help or inspiration. Sending you hugs and blessings.

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