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Taking Care of Yourself

TRANSCRIPT

ALAN
How are you two doing today?

KARA
Oh, you know... same old, same old.

ALAN
You seem a little tired. Are you sleeping well?

Kara shrugs.

ADDIE
I don’t think she sleeps at all.

KARA
Addie.

ALAN
Kara, I know we talked about this a little bit when Brock first got hurt, but I strongly believe it’s a topic worth revisiting – and that’s taking care of yourself. It’s absolutely the best thing you can do to help Brock and Addie. If you’re not taking care of yourself, you’re not able to give Brock and Addie the best possible care.

KARA
I know, but… there are only so many hours in a day, and I don’t feel like I can spare any of them for myself. There are so many other things to get done, and if I don’t do them, then no one will.

ALAN
Are you getting enough sleep?

KARA
Probably not. But even when I do go to bed, it’s not like I’m sleeping well anyway. There’s a billion things running through my mind. And I just can’t seem to shut it off.

ALAN
It’s hard, Kara, I get it. But if you don’t take care of yourself, emotionally and physically, well you’re going to burn out. Caregiver burnout is all-too common.

KARA
I’ve heard that. So what do you suggest?

ALAN
Well, number one, it helps to talk to somebody. Join a support group – you know I host one here – or talk to a counselor one-on-one, a therapist, a spiritual leader or a pastor. Talking to someone, especially someone with a similar experience, can really help relieve stress and anxiety. It helps you feel less alone, less like it’s all on you. Honestly, you’ll be amazed at how simply talking to someone, sharing your burden, it can really help you start sleeping better and eating better… without even thinking about it.

KARA
I just want to be there for Brock all the time, whatever he needs, whenever he needs it.

ALAN
No, I hear you. But you’re responsible for a lot of very important decisions about care, benefits, finances, and more. When you sleep well and you eat well, you’ll be able to think more clearly and make better decisions. Another thing I’d suggest is making sure you are doing some regular physical activity. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy strenuous, but getting your body moving and your heart pumping those are also great stress relievers.

ADDIE
We take walks around the courtyard at the hospital.

ALAN
Now that is really good. You guys have to think about recovery from TBI like a marathon instead of a sprint. It’s not a short-term illness. You two are in for a long journey, and you should be prepared for that. Take time for yourselves. Recharge, read a book, watch a movie.

ADDIE
We can do that. I love reading books.

KARA
I can’t even remember the last time I let myself read a book.

ALAN
Well, maybe you should consider getting back into reading. Now good time management can also reduce stress. Plan ahead so you don’t feel rushed or anxious, and don’t try to cram too many things into one day. Give yourself cushion time around appointments so you have time to breathe between things. Practice some other relaxation techniques like deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation. You can find more about these techniques in your Guide for Caregivers.

KARA
Okay.

ALAN
So you are going to try to take better care of yourself, right?

KARA
I’ll try.

ADDIE
I’ll make sure she does.

ALAN
Awesome.