Updated: Apr 21, 2021
Have you come across a meal on a magazine page or on a favorite cooking show that looked so good you had to immediately search out the ingredients? You proceed to read or hear the recipe, the process, then 49 steps in, your eyes glaze over, you close the magazine or change the channel. I've been there. You find yourself excited at first, but then realize you'll need to spend days you don't have, mincing, pureeing, chopping, straining, and dicing, contorting yourself into bits to get the desired effect of someone else's recipe. You calculate the cost and realize, there may be occasions to lose sleep over some else's version, but for today it's just not worth it.
Maybe like me, you've gone so far as to gather all the ingredients, gain a sense of the process, and got started. Hours in, the kitchen is a mess, and needing to salvage the meal, you think, THERE HAS TO BE another option. In every situation where I've challenged myself to find another answer, I've found, there is (though the result is usually quite different than I first had in mind). Often there's a need to step away from an idea when it doesn't seem to be working. Try to assess, will this add value, allow space, create meaning, build happiness? I typically go back to the recipe, to the start, remove some of the steps that don't work for me and add in a few of my favorite ingredients- things that I am drawn to, things that have worked before. I hope you will too. When we identify and target our needs, the process is much more rewarding, the experience belongs to us, and the result is often better than anticipated.
If you take a moment to reflect, what are the small and large opportunities you have which create joy, which bring you comfort, allow for rest, and encourage you to trust yourself? Utilize each one. Even if its one minute or five, recreate these moments every day. We get the best results when we trust ourselves enough to pay attention and take our own steps. By using ingredients we already possess, we create a version of ourselves that we love and can share with others. Our best recipe will only come together if the steps make sense. Become comfortable practicing and creating your own process.
As caregivers, we have the potential to create expectations for ourselves that simply don't work. We may require ourselves to function solely according to the rules of others, avoid seeking options and asking for help. We may overstep our own boundaries, and never feel like we're doing enough. These ideas may be well intended and to the benefit of others, yes. However, do they support emotional and physical wellness, are they individually sustainable? No. We may convince ourselves that we need to consistently empty ourselves for our efforts to meaningful. Yet, when we create a reality that seeks to meets the standards and needs of others, while ignoring ourselves, it doesn't take long before we are thrown off balance. We can't give what we don't possess.
Following someone else's exact recipe or process may not be our best solution. Being without options can cause us to feel stuck, unmotivated, overwhelmed. Review the elements you need and determine what you can modify, what are the alternatives that help you to remain authentic with respect to your goals, your circumstances and your time. Always include in your wellness recipe your own ingredients, what you know works best for you. It will improve the quality and enjoyment of your life, and ultimately also best serve those in your care. You will always be the expert of your own life. Write your recipe!
Make Time for Healing,