Imagine a see saw with you on it. How do you see yourself; what is your position? Are you carefree with legs dangling, or sitting just above the woodchips and trying to pick yourself up from the ground? How heavy do you feel? Is your mind full and overloaded trying to hold on to everything around you? Take a moment, visualize yourself. While we may wish for greater flexibility, we may frequently spend our days trying to find our legs, our strength. As caregivers and care providers what we need to make room for most is balance. It’s at this point, we notice and appreciate the rewards of our efforts, the trust placed in us, the sense of confidence, the opportunity to restore hope, and to share joy.
Caring is a ritual of hard choices, daily challenges and multiple considerations, sometimes testing every measure of endurance to support those who need your care. Sometimes we try our best to manage it all, feeling unsupported, even alone. But know that eventually, and for anyone, overwhelm will prevent us from functioning well, from helping at all.
Somewhere along the way many absorb the message that no matter how much we carry, it’s never ok to unpack. We consider it an honor to act as martyrs, ignoring that this can’t be sustained. Instead, it is the establishment of personal boundaries that can accomplish wellness when we create even brief opportunities for communication, respite, and rest. To transition from mind full to mindful we need to allow ourselves some rules. Here are some self talk messages we need to replace:
“I can shoulder everything myself” becomes “It’s necessary to ask for, and accept help sometimes.”
“If I just push through everyday I’ll get it done” becomes “I’ll take at least a short break and center myself when I need it, this will allow me to be more focused, more productive, more compassionate, more engaged, more at peace, healthy.”
“I can’t show emotion or I'll be ineffective” becomes “I’m a human being with a range of emotions that it’s natural to feel. Even with difficulty, I need to acknowledge my experiences, and where needed, get support to work through it.”
“I have to do what everyone wants of me” becomes “I can learn to set boundaries, prioritize what’s most important and do those things, not everything.”
“I don’t have time to feel or do anything else for that matter” becomes “I need to feel it to live with it, to create joy and be present in it, to grow through it, and to heal from it.”
What other self talk messages do you need to change? Let’s create room to build awareness and honest reflection, mindfulness. Caring for ourselves allows us to continue the gift of fully helping others. When we don't provide self care its difficult to maintain confidence or the capacity that we can help to meet another’s needs. Avoidance of what matters has varied outcomes we don’t want, particularly declines in mental health and wellness. The stress of being caregivers and providers creates hurdles that, while difficult, we can manage when we face our limitations. When we dismiss our needs, we become emotionally fragile . By building space in our lives that allows awareness, we build strength and become more present.
Make Time for Healing,