As someone who is married to a sighted supporter, I know that role can be very demanding. In my case, my wife drives everywhere, takes care of many of the little details, is always watching out for me and also holds down a full time job. Oh, and did I mention she is a great mother to my children as well? Even if I could see, she would be doing a lot. But, throw in my visual impairment and it can make for a whole lot more responsibilities that she has to take on. Maybe you are a sighted supporter who has a lot to do just like my wife. If so, it's so important that you “invest” in yourself and takes care of your needs just as much as you help take care of others.
Importance of Self Care
It's no secret that I (along with my wife) believe that self care is of great value. We as people often get this idea that taking care of ourselves is somehow selfish and not very loving to others. But, self care can help us love others better. Why? Well, imagine if you are completely burnt out, exhausted and ready for a break. Then, your VIP comes up to you and asks you to drive them to the store to pick up something. At this point, you might feel like biting off their head and telling them where they really can go. Doesn't sound too loving, does it?
If we are honest, we know that self care should be higher on our list. But, we usually don't take the time to make it a priority. And, if you are like my wife, you sometimes feel guilty spending money on yourself and not other people. This can especially be true if your VIP “needs” something to help them make the world more accessible.
So, I am here to tell you that investing in yourself can truly make a difference in your relationships, physical wellbeing and all around mental health. Making yourself take an afternoon away isn't selfish — it's actually really healthy. So, here are a few ideas on ways that you can invest in yourself and your sanity as a sighted supporter.
1. Pay for the flight
If you are a spouse of a VIP, you probably find yourself driving everywhere. From grocery and hardware stores to movies and baseball games, you are the one responsible for getting people everywhere. This can be very taxing on you as a person. So, I encourage you to spend a little extra money on that next vacation and fly. Yes, it does cost a little more, but, remember, this is an investment in yourself. Let someone else be in charge of the transportation. Then, you can sit back, relax and listen to a good audio book. Or, probably more likely, fall asleep with your mouth open, drooling on the person next to you. Ah…sweet relief…
2. Day at the spa (or other relaxing area)
Do you ever feel tense? Does it sometimes feel like your body is going to turn into stone? It not surprising that you might feel this way. Removing yourself from the situation can help, but I'd encourage you to spend a little money and find some relaxing activity. Perhaps this is a day at the spa where someone rubs mud on your face and hits you with bamboo sticks. Or, it could be a round of golf, a swim at a local pool, a walk through the woods or a large sundae all by yourself. Whatever the thing is that gives you the relaxation you are looking for, do that. You can do it alone or with someone you know. Just make sure you feel relaxed during it. (By the way, if that means you go with one of your friends who is sighted, there's nothing wrong with that. Don't feel bad!)
3. Out to eat
One thing that sighted supporters might end up doing a lot is cooking. Now, that's not to say that visually impaired people can't cook. I make dinner at least a few nights a week. But, it might default to you, espcieally if you want to try and make a new recipe of some sort. But, as we have learned, this can get overwhelming. So, go out. Put down the oven mitts, take off the apron and take a trip to your favorite restaurant. Yes, YOUR favorite restaurant. This doesn't have to be a crazy expensive meal. It can just be something you enjoy. Plus, it is the investment in yourself to avoid preparing the meal and then having to clean it up afterwards. Sounds like a win to me!
It's Not About the Money
These are just a few ways that might cost money, but are great ways to invest in yourself. There are lots of other ways to get a little self care in your life. You could do a puzzle. You could watch a movie at home. You could take a walk around your neighborhood. Whatever helps you to relax, catch your breath, come up for air or whatever phrase you want to use, will work just fine. Just remember that your needs are just as important as those of people around you, even if they can't see very well!
How do you take time for yourself? And, are you “investing” in who you are on a regular basis? Let me know in the comments below!