It took me awhile, but I am finally getting around to blogging about respite care. So what is respite care, and how does it apply to our lives? According to ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center, respite is “planned or emergency care provided to a child or adult with special needs in order to provide temporary relief to family caregivers who are caring for that child or adult” (n.d.). Merriam-Webster.com defines respite as “an interval of rest or relief” (n.d). Hmmm…rest…relief…sounds wonderful doesn’t it?! Below you will find my story of how I discovered that we can actually create moments of personal respite on a daily basis. Yes, planned respite is needed and an integral part of care-giving. However, we can also intentionally create personal moments of respite throughout each and every day to help us survive daily stressors. How you might ask? Well…
I recently saw one of my doctor’s for a follow up appointment. I asked him if the symptoms I have been experiencing could be brought on by stress. Before he could answer my question I anxiously blurted out that I have been experiencing a great deal of stress. As I busily talked with my hands, as I so often do, he politely took the time to listen to my story and he calmly said, “Stacy, while you are here at our office, use the time to relax and breathe.” I was kind of taken back. I didn’t expect him to say that. He gave me permission to relax. I felt a sense of calm wash over me. As his words sunk into my stress laden brain, I took a deep breath and exhaled. It was as if someone had taken a fresh, warm blanket out of the dryer on an icy cold December day and wrapped it around me. Any tension I felt left my body, and I felt a little less stressed.
As a wife, mother, grandmother, caregiver, friend etc…I oftentimes forget to take care of myself. Usually it takes me getting sick or hurt to realize that I need to slow down and refocus a little on myself. It is interesting that sometimes we need someone to give us permission to do something as simple as relax.
Since that day at the doctor’s office I have to come realize that we have the power to create personal moments of respite. If we are at the doctor’s office we can use that time, as my doctor said, to relax. We can turn a sometimes unpleasant situation, like a waiting room, into a moment of respite. We can capture the moments that oftentimes elude us and recreate a moment to just inhale and exhale the stress. So here’s to creating personal moments of respite in an effort to be the best we can be for the amazing people in our lives including ourselves!
ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center. Accessed on May 12, 2012 at http://archrespite.org/
Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online. Accessed on May 12, 2012 at http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/respite