Another way to care for yourself
My tag line for this blog is that “You can’t take care of another until you take care of yourself…first!” The truism is that you can’t give what you don’t have.
How do you take care of yourself? The obvious ways are making sure you eat and sleep well. Add in regular exercise and meditation and you have covered a lot what is recognized as “taking care of yourself.”
There is another aspect of caring for yourself that I highly recommend to CareGivers: achieving success. Now, you may be saying to yourself, I’m a CareGiver. I have enough on my plate already. When do I have time to become successful? Besides, wouldn’t that be taking my focus away from care giving? Yes. And that is exactly the point. To reduce the stress of being a CareGiver, learning the balance between placing attention on the person you are caring for and yourself, is critical. You need time for yourself so you don’t begin to feel that all that there to life is a caring for your loved one.
Let’s take a look at success. One definition of success is the progressive realization of a stated goal. Define a goal, and do a little each day to move toward completing that goal. That’s success. It’s not necessarily about becoming financially independent or finding your soul mate. You can achieve success doing something as simple as planting basil seeds in a pot that you place on your window sill and nurturing it until it produces leaves big enough to spice your food. You can define success as finally finishing reading that novel that’s been on your shelf for the past year.
Why is achieving success doing something simple essential to reducing the stress of being a CareGiver? Because it allows you to experience seeing the results of your actions in a task which has a clear beginning, middle, and end. Care giving is an open ended task that expands over time. While there is a beginning to care giving, it difficult to know where’s the middle or when the end will come. That lack of control over the process and uncertainty of the time frame are two factors that contribute to the stress of being a care giver.
When you can give yourself the gift of becoming successful doing something simple, you can draw on that experience for comfort when you face the chaotic, open-ended world of care giving.