I try to be at my best, both physically and emotionally, so that I can be 100 percent there to tend to my loved one with HAE when the need arises.
Here are three strategies I use to help care for myself:
1.) Focus on things that are within my immediate control
A successful coping strategy for me when I start to feel upset or overwhelmed is to ask myself if my frustration or worry is going to accomplish anything. If not, I make every effort to simply move to the next thought or issue and focus on enjoying today, living in the moment, and appreciating what is in my life at the time.
2.) Make time for myself
When my loved one with HAE is free from the symptoms of hereditary angioedema, I allow myself “me time”—time to exercise, kayak, see a movie with a friend or simply get a manicure/pedicure. I make a conscious effort to care for me, since I devote so much of myself to caring for others.
And lastly, I care for myself by…
3.) Forgive myself
I’ve been working on forgiving myself for the times I feel anger and frustration, which come from dealing with the challenges of having a loved one with HAE. I give myself permission, for just a short time, to feel those feelings. I have a good cry and an internal “chat” with myself to put things into perspective. Afterward, I wipe my tears, take a breath, and face the next challenge that caring for a loved one with HAE brings.
Practicing these strategies allows me to be as close to 100 percent as possible when needed, and they allow me to acknowledge that I am one person. I can’t do everything, but I can do my part…. One hour, one day, one week, and one acute HAE attack at a time.
What do you do as a caregiver to take care of yourself? Leave a comment below!