Sunday morning in Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK. I woke up to a white sugarlike coating on the rooftops, the cars with a crispy ice covering. This is the first time I have looked out of the window in 66 hours and most of those hours I have slept!
A bit like; physician heal yourself!! I have been so very busy really all of this year, moving counties, getting settled in the UK and working, writing and publishing the book, along with presentations, the radio shows and doing work in secure units; which is always mentally exhausting. My eating habits had declined and exercise had become a note on the diary, but then always excuses why not.
I decided to take a few days to see my family (I have not seen many of them since 2004!) A five hour drive in freezing conditions, and I mean freezing; one of the factors of Compassion Fatigue is making errors, I had to put up with those sub-zero conditions, because I had not put any water in the radiator! How my car did not explode or overheat, that is a miracle.
I travelled back with my daughter and grandson in the car, after coming back to Kent from London, I got off the train at the wrong station, in the middle of nowhere; by the time I realized the train was leaving the station. I walked to the main road and followed the signs to the hospital, I asked a lady where I could get a bus, or taxi as I had got off the train by mistake. Very kindly she offered to take me to the centre of Maidstone, from where I could walk to my daughter’s house.
So, off we started on a 5 hour drive back to Yorkshire, mostly uneventful even though weather conditions were fairly dire. A very much more comfortable journey with heat, now that she had filled the radiator with water!
Arriving back at stupid o’clock in the morning, we finally crawled into bed in a very cold house, on Monday we had to get organised and shop, which was a late start, so the day was gone quickly. Back to work Tuesday and Wednesday, feeling tired and aching which is unlike me. Got through the days and collapsed into bed early both evenings.
Thursday, peeled myself out of bed and went to work, my tummy was gurgling and I felt “a bit off,” but just get on with it. Until the body thought otherwise…… by midday – I was “evacuating” violently from both ends! I got home, crawled into bed at 2pm on the Thursday 14th December and I have slept most of the time until 7.30am Sunday 17th December.
When we push ourselves too hard, our bodies will take over for our own benefit, slowing us down and saying take care of yourself too. No matter how experienced we are, or how much we know; it is easy to drop into this void. Remembering to say no to too many demands, and to yes to looking after yourself.
This time of year especially, where there are so many more demands on your time and your attention, give yourself the present of “me time,” no guilt, do it before your body does it for you.
Happy, healthy festive season.
Linda Sage Caring for the Caregiver