Self-CareGiving Matters!

caregiving for youAre You an Automatic CareGiver?

If you are in a caregiving role, taking care of your children, your pets, or your parents, this role is sometimes all consuming. Especially if you are caregiving for multiple people! So are you giving the most important person some care as well? This blog is about caregiving for YOU. Self-Caregiving.

“But I don’t have time to do things for myself!”

This is a common belief of many new moms, working parents, and others who are constantly on alert for the needs of other people. Pets can be a source of self-caregiving when they are young and healthy, but if they become ill or injured they too can add to the burden of what you have to do in a day.

I was drawn to this photo of the woman blowing bubbles because is it such a simple, almost childish thing to do. But watching those bubbles magically grow with your breath, to break off and float free into the world as the mini transparent rainbows they are, makes me happy. It takes moments, but feels amazing and centers me a little when I need it.

The challenge of self-#caregiving is usually a matter of priorities Click To Tweet

The Challenge of Self-CareGiving

urgency matrixThe challenge of self-caregiving is usually a matter of priority. It’s so easy to get “caught up” in the action, even the excitement, of urgency.

I read Stephen Covey’s book the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People when I was in college. If I had to name all 7 I couldn’t do it but I know where the book is! However, this one thing really has stuck with me: The Matrix of Urgency you see to the right:

Which might be filled in like this:

As you take a look at this, imagine your day to day activities in these four areas. Yes, the crying baby, a call from the nursing home, or a kitchen fire, are urgent & important!

But how about that Facebook time?

Guess what: Facebook time has it’s place too. If you just discount it as “not urgent and not important” and then never get to it, yet you have friends and family who count on and expect to be able to communicate with you there, then it can quickly become an important and even urgent matter to be there and contributing.

Furthermore, those not urgent and not important activities are sometimes self-caregiving ones.

  • Think of it like putting gas in your car. When your tank is full, adding more gas is not urgent, not important (and would be rather silly in fact!) As you get down to half a tank, it moves up in need, especially if you have a long trip ahead of you. In Minnesota, in the winter, it is smart not to get too low in the tank; a snowstorm could extend your travel times, or even land you in a ditch and you may need the gas to stay warm! So now adding gas to your tank becomes important, even if not yet urgent. Empty tank? Urgent and important!
  • Airplane analogy: If you pay attention to the safety presentation before take off, what are you instructed to do if you need to use the oxygen mask that drops down? Apply your own mask first.
  • Consider the steps laid out in PureLiving in a Modified World as a path you can follow to self-caregiving:
    • Sleep
    • Hydration
    • Movement
    • Nourishment
    • Detoxification
Consider the steps laid out in PureLiving in a Modified World as a path you can follow to… Click To Tweet

The more “Important not urgent” things you can work into your day, the better. Taking time to exercise, slowing down and eating good foods, even watching laugh out loud videos for a few minutes can help keep gas in your engine, oxygen in your life, and allow you to be a better caregiver too.

Also, make sure you take time to blow some bubbles. It causes you to take a few deep breaths!

The Joy of Self-CareGiving

Self care is not the same as self indulgence or overdoing something. Would it be caring of you to feed your child chocolate for breakfast lunch and dinner?  Exercising your puppy is good, but would you make him run a marathon? Even if you like to run marathons, you don’t do it every day and you train yourself to be able to do so.

Sometimes self-caregiving can seem like a burden, too! If you feel like you “have to” exercise or eat your vegetables because you know they are good for you, it’s not much fun and it does not even feel like you are giving yourself care.

Self-#caregiving can feel like a burden, so turn it around and find the #joy! Click To Tweet

So turn it around. Find joy in caring for yourself.

I turned to martial arts! Running on a treadmill was not my thing. I sort of enjoyed classes, but really never felt I was accomplishing much. Once I started taking martial arts classes, I felt a real purpose in what I was doing. 1,000 punches to perfect it was a challenge I could get my brain around and enjoy. Soon, I wanted to go to the gym and start weight training because I knew it would make me better in martial arts class. Next I started discussing how my instructors approach food and eating, and became more interested in finding my way.

Best part? When I have a challenging day I can go punch and kick or even find a willing sparring partner and work it out in a healthy way!

My solution is not likely your solution, however, and there are many other ways I do self-caregiving. Best selling author Kelley Grimes, founder of InTruthAndBeauty.com, has an extensive blog full of ways you can self-nurture, and I’m pretty sure martial arts is nowhere to be found in her list of suggestions. Meditation, gratitude, and creating beauty in you environment are more what she writes about. Here is a link to her blogs relating to coping skills. She also has a simple graphic called the Top 5 Ways to Create Peace in Your Day which you can download from her homepage.

Resources for Self-CareGiving

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Please comment below with other great resources you can share with other readers of this blog.

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