Some years ago I remembered hearing a song by Melissa Manchester called "This Lady's Not Home Today." It's a really great song. It was about a woman who did everything for others. She had a "caregiver's" personality. So much so that she rarely had time for herself.
Sometimes she took care of people who were sick and had no relatives. Sometimes she brought meals to the "caregivers" who were themelves taking care of parents, or others in need.
Although she worked a full time job, every other weekend she could be found working at the battered women's and children's shelter... volunteering to take care of the children there, and teach work skills to their mothers so they could become employable.
Although there were times she barely had the energy to take care of herself... she was often seen sending what little energies she had outward... always outward... and always to the rescue of others. Then... perhaps finding she was on the edge of disaster... she discovered that she herself needed some time to re-energize... to "heal."
Slowly but surely she re-made the inside of her home into a "healing place." She collected natural scents, candles, supplies for healing baths, and wood for the fireplace. An American Indian friend of hers from Albuquerque sent her a "healing talisman" to put on her mantle.
Then one day... when she finally found herself at the point of collapse... she realized that she needed time to "tend to her bruises and re-light her fuses." After fighting off her feelings of guilt, she finally made the choice. She closed the shutters on her windows, pulled back the lace curtains on the front door, and hung a sign on the window glass that said... "This Lady's Not Home Today... ."