Thriving Caregivers Prioritize Soul Care

Sometimes I have an opportunity to escape being a mom, wife, and the primary caregiver to our adult daughter with Angelman Syndrome. It may just be for a couple of hours but one rather simple and satisfying way I can do this is to take a long bath and read a book or magazine. I might even give myself a pedicure. It’s a luxurious time of pampering to light a candle, pull out the Epsom salts and indulge in some “me” time.

Truth be told though, I could live without the pedicure and even the soak in the tub. What I cannot really live without is some time to myself to organize my thoughts, to rest from my responsibilities, to remember who I am apart from loved ones around me and to renew or deepen my connection with God.

What are you best at — taking care of yourself or taking care of your soul? Where is your focus?

You will be a better caregiver for others when you take good care of your soul.

In today’s blog, we’re exploring the differences and similarities between self care and soul care.

Worship Playlists for Caregiving Parents

I hear a lot of parents raising children with disabilities say that worship music is a go-to for them when it comes to soul care. That should be no surprise given that it’s easy to turn on a song and continue with the daily art of multi-tasking our self care or soul care while simultaneously caring for others.

We’ve been sharing playlists behind the scenes in the WRIM community lately. And it seemed like a fun and/or helpful opportunity to make this a more public effort and build our playlists together. After all, we understand each other and tend to know what will resonate and ease each other’s burdens.

In today’s blog, I’m starting us off with some personal playlists. But I hope you’ll chime in with comments about what ministers to your own soul!

Respite Rhythms (Part 3): Pace Yourself!

This is Part 3 in our series and Respite Rhythms and another installment in the ongoing discussion about the 8 Habits of Caregivers with a Robust Support System. Today, Lisa is sharing some “pro tips” for you to consider. These ideas have been gathered from personal experience and numerous conversations with other family caregivers throughout over 20 years in ministry.

If you are the parent or other family caregiver of a loved one with disabilities, you will understand the scarcity of things like rest, discretionary time, spiritual retreats, or even spontaneous intimacy in the marriage bed. It may not be possible to get the frequency or nature of breaks you hope for. But it is possible to achieve an adequate rhythm of respite and find a reasonably balanced pace of refreshing activities.

In fact, it is essential for caregivers to achieve some reasonable balance in this area. Without it, we are at risk of things like bitterness, burnout, and breakdown. Adequate respite rhythms keep us resilient in the short term and sustainable for the long haul.

Jump on over to the blog and catch ten practical pro tips from this mini-series on respite rhythms.

Respite Rhythms (Part 1): Start with Trust

Parents, adult siblings, and others who care for someone with complex medical needs or developmental disabilities struggle to get the breaks and rest they need. The obstacles are numerous and varied so it is tempting to just quit trying. Nonetheless, there is a way to approach respite that offers some satisfying and beneficial balance.

There is an adequate rhythm of rest to be found and it’s as unique as you are.

Because finding adequate respite rhythms is very challenging but holds such significant opportunity for caregivers, we’re devoting the next three posts to the topic. We’ll be exploring more ways of finding a reasonable pacing of refreshment in your family and/or marriage when living with someone who has disabilities and/or complex medical needs.

Respite Rhythms (Part 1): Start with Trust
Respite Rhythms (Part 2): How Much is Enough?
Respite Rhythms (Part 3): Pace Yourself!

Head on over to the blog because we’re just getting started with inspiration and practical ideas!

Tips for a Task-Oriented Caregiver

Some people are “wired” for projects. They actually get energized by putting things in order, finding efficiencies, coordinating team members and checking the lists. If this describes you, let me just say how admired and valuable you are.

We hope today’s blog encourages you and offers some tips to help you optimize your strengths.

This is the first post in a new series for family caregivers. We’re exploring what helps us find our “sweet spots” in the family that cares for one another amidst the challenges of disability.

Tell us in the comments what works for you!

A Caregiver’s Prayer for Rest

There have been times when my daughter’s needs have become very scary or intense for me as her caregiver. I have felt like I’m survival mode. When she has suffered from seizures, I become fearful. When she hasn’t slept much for days or weeks, I have been overwhelmed and emotional in sleep deprivation. I have wanted to run away from my life. Sometimes I do, in a way. When there is support staff available in the morning, I have pushed the snooze so many times trying to push off a new day with its incessant battles. I tend to hide in my bedroom at any opportunity to escape the demands that will arise as soon as Carly sees me. I avoid the kitchen when I can’t face the need to puree one more meal. I run emotionally when I feel like I am suffocating in my life.

These are the confessions of a caregiver.

On today’s blog, Lisa shares a poignant, personal peek into one of her prayer journals. On this particular day, she explored a reflection with God on 1 Kings 19.

Our prayer is that other caregivers may be inspired to find their own way to fresh soul connection and rest with our Savior.

I Considered a Life Reset and Got the Reboot I Never Expected

In the late spring of 2020 when it started becoming clear that Covid quarantining wasn’t going to end soon, I started realizing a lifestyle reset was in order. It took several months and an untimely accident to shake me to my core and get my soul powered up for the long winter at home parenting an adult child who doesn’t understand why her world has so dramatically changed.

Tap Your Caregiver Strengths

I start each day like every other parent caring for a loved one who has disabilities or mental health concerns — with desperate needs to keep up my energy, feel competent, provide safe and efficient care, remain loving and compassionate, fight fears, feel a sense of control over my circumstances, get satisfying socialization, balance attention to each loved one in my life, do adequate self-care and generally stay encouraged. Caregivers don’t need to live at the end of their rope! There is a way to stay energized and effective.

Tips for Caregivers About Expressing Help and Encouragement

Encouragement is essential nourishment for our souls. That need may be even more pronounced when someone is facing stresses like those involved in life challenges such as disability, health crisis, and financial strain.

Personally, it means the world to me when someone spurs me on with encouragement, truth, and words of appreciation. And this is never truer than when I’m especially worn out, worried, lonely, or otherwise stretched by caring for my daughter. When stressful situations erupt, the deepest needs of our souls will reveal themselves.

Are you one of those people who intuitively recognizes the needs and opportunities around you for bringing help or encouragement? Allow me to affirm the precious value of your gentle, tender-hearted spirit and generous ability to express things like empathy and support.

This final article in our “sweet spots” series explores how uniquely each of us expresses help and encouragement within a family impacted by special needs.