Stay Fit And Get More Done
Feeling overwhelmed and drained? Keeping up with your fitness will keep you sharp and give you energy for your busy days.
Did you know that 61% of caregivers are women? In addition to caregiving, 59% percent of these women have jobs and families. About 75% of all caregivers report feeling strained emotionally, physically, or financially, according to womenshealth.gov. Over the past few years, up until the recent passing of both of my grandparents, I have learned a lot about priorities. Taking on the caregiver role makes it hard to get enough sleep, eat healthy meals, and get to the gym. Stress levels can run high and as a result cause me to gain weight at times. It’s a catch-22: you want to help other people, but you also need to take care of yourself so you don’t end up feeling fried. I can see now why throughout history many question if Joan of Arc was a nut or sane!
My grandfather was a very active, 95-year-old man who also had Alzheimer’s. Although he thought he was fine, there was an incident where he had lost control of his car and nearly drove through happy hour at a restaurant. My biggest obstacles were trying to explain to him that he was not fine and convincing him to hand over his keys. My grandmother was very independent up until recent years, but suffered from osteoporosis. She experienced an unexpected fall and shortly after, ended up in a wheelchair at a nursing home.
Juggling two elderly people was rewarding in many ways, however, it took a toll on me physically and mentally. I would often cry from pure exhaustion. Have you ever had to lift a wheelchair and get it in and out of a car alone? By the time we got into a restaurant, one would usually have to use the restroom. When we finally did sit down to eat, they would eat very slowly regardless of my time constraints. Visits could take a good chunk out of my day. But how could I not do this? They lived for these visits! This is when I was thankful to be healthy and fit, and I learned to just grin and bear the long days.
Still, with all of this responsibility, I continued to successfully compete, help my daughter get settled into college, and run my business. I’ve learned to creatively manage my time and pace myself. I understand how important it is to get my meals in to help support my energy levels. If I am wiped out, I rest and then hit the gym later in the day. I also take advantage of resources available to me. If I have a show, I hire a cleaning service take care of the house so I can preserve my energy or I just don’t clean it that day. If I feel overwhelmed with work, I hire an assistant. I eat out when I’m on the go and it’s more convenient, but I always ask for clean meals. It is also important to surround yourself with the right people. I have friends who have offered to visit my grandparents to give me a break. I take them up on it, allowing them to gain some “good karma points” in the process.
Every day seemed to present itself with some wacky obstacle. Every time I was leaving for a show, I was guaranteed to get a call. While my relatives complained about how tired they were and overwhelmed with their personal lives, I was able to support my grandparents even through their final hours. At times the obstacles made me feel cursed, but I knew I had a special mission in life. And thanks to my fit lifestyle, I was able to handle it and still be a good granddaughter as well as a good mother to my children. Sometimes the timing of things is exactly what God intends, and doing a show or workout on a particular day may not be the right time. Sometimes life gives you an “off” day.
My grandmothers voice still rings in my ear, “Do what you can do today because you never know what tomorrow may bring!” If you want to be successful you have to be able to monitor when your burning the candle at both ends, and know when you are the one that needs to change your outlook on a situation. What I’ve learned is that staying fit is the way to fit more in! If you want to live into your 90’s, you better learn how to box the obstacles, enjoy life and roll with the punches the best you can! I’m thankful to my grandparents because they taught me what it is to have mental muscle and be resilient!