Caregivers Need and Deserve Yoga

Woman with gray hair hugs man in denim shirt with lake in background.

Let me tell you my story.

I wrote this post just a few days before having to go to Mayo Clinic with my husband for his 6-month cancer checkup. All I want to do is tell you about him. For the past six years I have helped him navigate his life as a cancer patient. He has endured surgeries, treatment and what is now his new normal with strength and quiet acceptance. You see, I would rather tell you about him than about me. I’m not the one that is sick. 

Becoming a caregiver

When he received his diagnosis we both fell into our roles quickly. He was to fight what was going on inside him and I would take care of everything else. I chose to be his rock with no hesitation. However, sometimes I feel that instead of being a rock I’m more like a gum ball. I have a hard outer shell but with just the right amount of pressure it will give way to reveal the soft sticky center. I never want to acknowledge the cracks and dents from the ride I have had alongside him for fear that if they became too deep it would be revealed that there is no strong core on the inside. I could demand and advocate for my husband’s care but didn’t do the same thing for myself. That is what had become of me as a caregiver. 

Upon his diagnosis I began searching and studying every medical book, report and study on his cancer in an attempt to understand the future for him… for me. When I tried looking for a roadmap for what my experience would look like there wasn’t much to find. There was no warning about the intense emotions I would feel standing by his hospital bed feeling small and hopeless. No one to show me that it was ok to take time for myself so that I would be up for the challenges on the road ahead. Nothing to warn me of the doubt, fear, dread, anger, frustration, resentment, guilt, self pity and pure exhaustion I would endure on my own because I was without my own network of people going through the same thing.

Overwhelmed and feeling alone

It’s really hard to talk to someone about how tired or drained you are when your loved one has a major medical issue. It’s difficult to speak about the intense emotions and the accompanying thoughts to someone because you don’t want to explain away why you feel that way. Frankly, some days you don’t talk about your experience because you are just too tired. I could always write lengthy witty Caringbridge posts about my husband’s experiences but never would think of adding in my own take on the day. I minimized what I was going through.

Finding a way to voice my experience

As much as I needed to talk about my experiences, I couldn’t pick the lock I had put on my own voice. I continued to silence that part of me for six years until it broke free and spoke to me in my sleep a few weeks ago. It wasn’t a soft and fuzzy dream. It wasn’t even a whisper in my ear but a demand yelled at me with such force that it woke me up. I realized I needed to provide yoga for caregivers. I laid in bed excited, scared and unable to go back to sleep. I finally found a way to speak about my own experience and bring other caregivers together so that they too can find their voice. I have found a way to let others know that self care is not a luxury but a requirement when you are taking care of someone else. I have the ability to create the space I would have loved to have years ago. 

My Caregivers Yoga Workshop can help you connect with others who can understand what you are going through. You can come away from our time together having experienced how to allow your body to lower its stress dial and bring home ideas on how to incorporate self care into your life to help you deal with the stress of caring for someone. Let it be a reset for your nervous system through gentle movement, restorative poses, self inquiry, optional sharing and Yoga Nidra.

You deserve self-care

I know what some of you are thinking… there’s no time, no energy, don’t need to find ways to take care of myself I’m already taking care of someone else or I don’t know how to do Yoga. I’m here to say I know where that is coming from. You need to make the time to do something for yourself. Experiencing this workshop will help you find ways to combat the stress in your life so that you can have the energy. Come to let yourself be supported so that you have the strength to support your loved one. Take care of yourself because if you don’t you will have nothing to give. You don’t need to know how to do Yoga to come. I will guide you through everything all you need to do is show up.

Rumi wrote, “Never give from the depth of your well, but from your overflow.” Let me help you create that overflow so that you will always have something to give. Join me on July 27 from 1-3 PM.

Look forward to meeting you all soon,
Charlotte Bayala