Give yourself a break - a tip for caregivers and anyone else who wants a simpler life

Life has been busy recently as the family have been caring for my in-laws whilst also helping them to move house. It was very busy, and both physically and emotionally draining. So, I decided to practice what I preach: slow down, permit myself to take time to rest and relax. I reviewed my “to do” list so that the really important things got done and anything else could wait. And that included leaving the blog post I’d originally intended to write until next week!

In the meantime, here how’s I’ve been putting the key messages from recent posts into action in order to make life easier – or at the very least avoid actively making it more difficult:

Concentrate on what you can control: I’ve been doing what I can, and leaving others to get on with doing other things as much as possible – and gently reminding myself of this when my thoughts started to slip.

Play to your strengths: I’ll plan and organise and cook and make jokes and sit with someone for hours and have done so. When it comes to the more personal care though, there are better people to ask, and anyone who knows me knows that.

Know when to give up: For the most part I have been cooking meals for us, healthy nutritious meals to help us to keep going. But there have been a couple of times when I’ve acknowledged I needed to take a break and we’ve had a takeaway.

Communication: I’ve done what I can to be clear and simple in communication with a whole range of different people, from family members to movers in order to make things as uncomplicated as possible.

Asking for help: I’ve been very grateful for Bluetooth as I’ve spoken to many people on the phone while I’ve been driving. They mostly didn’t even realise they were helping: for them they were just talking to me, for me they were keeping me company and providing a much-needed outlet. The one exception was the family member to whom I reeled off a list of requests / things for them to do to help in general.

Making progress: has anything I’ve done been perfect? No. Have I always completed everything I wanted to get done in a give day? No. But it was always progress and in the end, all the important things got done by when they needed to be done so I’ll take the win.

What about you?

How can you give yourself a break – either an actual physical break to do what you want to do, or a metaphorical break by recognising all you are doing and achieving rather than beating yourself up for the things you’re not?

When my other half was signed off work with stress, my life was turned upside down too. These blog posts are based on the things that helped me, the lessons I learnt the hard way and what I realise with the benefit of hindsight would have helped. I’ve collected some of the other key learning points and tips and made these available to download at

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