If we are not careful as caregivers, we can totally burn ourselves out, and that is exactly what I did in 2010.
Working in a corporate job, responsible for 1000 independent representatives of the company, coaching, training, encouraging, and sometimes it even felt like I was dragging them along. I was responsible for the numbers that this team produced, in the midst of a recession.
I took it as my personal mission to turn this team of ladies around, creating specific training classes, coaching calls, one-on-one meetings, trying to do everything I could to reach the numbers set by corporate. All this while working 90+ hours a week, tied to my blackberry and my company car/office and laptop.
All the while, I had 3 teenagers at home, and a husband, who wanted to spend time with me. I had given up on housework and hired a housecleaner, and I never cooked anymore.
I finally came to my wits end, literally, and mentally and physically just shut down. I had to take medical leave from my job, and did not leave my home for months except for therapy or doctor appointments. My body and my brain had finally had enough.
That recovery was long and tough, and sometimes I still don’t think I’m over it completely. I learned that the human mind and body can only take so much. I learned that it is crucial to take care of oneself, that you can’t take care of those around you if you let yourself fall apart. You have to learn boundaries. And that your physical and mental health has to take priority. Self-care is never selfish.
My hope is that someone reading my blog will learn to take care of themselves, while taking care of their responsibilities, and never reach the place that I did.