Caregiving: What have you done for YOU, lately?

Dr. Wayne Baker welcomes Heather Jose, a teacher, healthcare provider and activist with a website called Go Beyond Treatment.

As our series on caregivers draws to a close, let me leave you with a warning: Don’t boast! We are a nation of one uppers. We are proud of how busy we are and how many things we can manage. We may even go for martyr status, bragging about how we meet the needs of everyone before taking care of ourselves.

Caregiving is not easy. You may have the daily tasks well in hand—but who gets the call when some new need arises? Who is responsible? You.

To be at your best you need to meet your needs on a regular basis. This is a matter of determining what makes you feel good, what renews your spirits. I like coffee from a real mug while sitting in my Adirondack chair and looking at my flowers. I also like how I feel after I have made time to workout.

When I was diagnosed with cancer, my daughter was 14 months old. There were many who thought that I was crazy to choose to take her to a babysitter every day for a few hours so that I could workout, plan meals, meditate and pray. I looked at it as an investment in our future.I needed to care of myself so that I could care for my daughter over time.

She will be 14 this fall. I would say that my time focusing on my own needs as her caregiver was time well spent. In order to complete the marathon you have undertaken—take care of you too!

What suggestions can you share about caring for the caregiver?

What restores your spirits?

Come on! Share a few ideas that lift your spirits!

Originally published at, an online experiment in civil dialogue on American values.

Heather Jose is the author of  Letters to Sydney: Every Day I am Killing Cancer, co-author of The Healing Agreement—and a contributing writer for Coping Magazine and Thrive.

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