The demands of being a caregiver can be overwhelming, especially if you feel you have little control over the situation, or IF you’re in over your head. If the stress of caring is left unchecked, it can take a toll on your health, relationships, and state of mind, eventually leading to burnout. That’s why taking time to rest, relax and recharge isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity.
After five years of caring for my dad who has dementia, I was well aware of this and wanted to help other caregivers understand the importance of looking after themselves.
One day, I was browsing through the Internet and came across an insightful quote from Jenifer Louden, personal growth pioneer and author on the subject.
She said “Self-care is not selfish or self-indulgent. We cannot nurture others from a dry well. We need to take care of our own needs first, then we can give from our surplus, our abundance.”
From then on I researched more on the topic, and wrote an article comprised of tips of how to avoid burnout, handling tangled emotions, tips for expressing your feelings, and the benefits of support groups. The first publication that picked it up was Transition, a Canadian publication with a focus on mental health for the sufferer and the people that love them.
After I adjusted it, I was fortunate to get it published in Vibrant Life, a Christian health publication. Next was another Christian publication called Now What? But, this time I included a personal story of caring for my father at the beginning, followed by practical advice for the rest. After that one, I changed it even more, and got it published with Adventist Review. And finally, I got it published in an online health magazine called Vita Bella.
After the first two publications, I realized that this was a topic that needed covering. By getting the message out as much as possible, I would be revealing insights and useful information to people who care for people that they love. When you write from a personal perspective, you can relate better to your reader on the daily struggles they may face, but are either too ashamed or embarrassed to admit to others. I believe this is why my articles were so successful. Besides the monetary reward, these articles provided an emotional reward, too.
Julie Guirgis is a freelance writer residing in Sydney, Australia. Her writing has appeared in several publications including Transition, Majellan, Madonna, Eureka St, The Nathaniel Report, Signs of the Times, Adventist Review, Significant Living, Caring Times, Vibrant Life, Alive Now, Now What?, Insight, Guide, The Aquarian, The Edge, Creation Illustrated, Kaleidoscope, Insights, Witty Bitches, Author’s Publish Magazine, Compass, Woman Alive, Spotlight on Recovery, Vita Bella, Unity, Coffee House for Writers, and Writer’s Weekly.