How To Take Care Of Yourself While Caring For Others
How to take care of yourself while caring for others frees you from victim energy.
If you’re a mother of young children, taking care of the elderly, a single mom, or in another situation where others are dependent upon you, developing the skill of knowing how to take care of yourself while caring for others is vitally important.
If you don’t you’ll get lost in the maze of others needs and lose your identity. Your health both physically and emotionally will be affected too.
You don’t live in isolation, though sometimes you may think you do. The fact is, we’re all interconnected. Probably more than we realize. Our lives are dependent upon all of us providing services for each other.
Your children, elderly parents and those you provide a service for are counting on your love and support. This is a beautiful thing and part of what makes life meaningful.
Even if you neither have children nor elderly parents you are caring for, you may be giving care to someone dependent upon you in another way. We are all providing for each other in some way.
The skill of knowing how to take care of yourself while caring for others has great benefits no matter what the situation.
Knowing how to take care of yourself while caring for others needs to be developed and constantly practiced and kept in check. Keeping self-care as part of your focus when being a caregiver is not easy. But it’s necessary if you are to care for others in a way that is authentic, loving and true.
That’s why knowing how to care for yourself is a big part of good caregiving.
3 important things to practice when caring for others.
Take Care of Yourself by Asking for Help
If you are thinking total self-sacrifice is a good thing, think again. It is called martyrdom and is totally outdated. Jumping on the victim train is no longer in. Giving of yourself in “over-service” to another is passé.
If you are in victim energy then there must be a perpetrator. Are you going to make your two-year-old the perpetrator? Of course not. Or your aging parent a perpetrator? Again, of course not!
It takes a tribe to raise a child and the tribe should also help when it comes to aging parents. Nowadays the tribe isn’t so readily available. Many of our family members live across the country or miles away. Our social services leave much to be desired as well.
The best way of how to take care of yourself
while caring for others is to ask for help.
The alternative to the availability of your tribe, when caring for another is to get used to asking for help. You can’t do it all on your own. Stop trying to be superwoman. Many of us take on the attitude that “I am strong” or “It’s weak to ask for help.” This is the furthest from the truth. The truth is, it takes courage to ask for help and it’s a very smart thing to do.
I don’t know your specific situation but give yourself permission to ask for help. If you give yourself permission and don’t consider it being weak, then creative ways will open to you. The way will be shown to you in how others might be able to lighten your load.
People actually want to be helpful if they can. And if they know there is an opportunity to do so. Put on your creative thinking cap and see what others in your immediate family, friends, and community can help you with.
It’s simply muscles you need to develop. The asking muscle. The delegation muscle. Delegation is a quality all good leaders have. So don’t think of it as help. Think of it as developing great leadership skills.
Take Care of Yourself by Establishing Healthy Boundaries
When caring for others, if you notice your mind chatter filled with words like, “I hate this. I am so tired of this. I can’t believe I have to do this over and over again”, you’re hurting yourself and the person you’re giving care to. Your energy is being bogged down. It’s important to understand how to take care of yourself simply by understanding energy. And caring for your own vitality.
Letting your own health and vitality be negatively affected is not love. It is not service. It is not good caregiving…it is misery. This is caregiving and resentment all wrapped in one. And it’ll destroy you and your relationships.
When giving care to another you need to establish healthy boundaries for yourself. Know what you can and cannot do. In other words, know your limitations. Be honest with yourself if you need additional assistance.
Don’t get in over your head. Don’t over commit.
If you’ve gotten in over your head but there is a light at the end of the tunnel, keep your focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes those we love need, for a certain amount of time, our extra care and attention. That’s life.
Nonetheless, don’t let yourself get lost in it.
Besides the asking and delegation muscles you need to develop, you also need to develop the “ability to say no” muscle. This goes back to knowing realistically what you can and cannot do and honor it.
A great tool to have in your toolbox if you have a hard time saying no are the words, “Let me think about it.“ This gives you time to self-reflect and protects you from saying yes when you really mean no.
3. Take Care of Yourself by Using Guided Meditations
Meditation is a powerful tool to keep your body in balance. Often we are up in our heads telling ourselves stories of how miserable life is or how awful we are. Listen to the words you are telling yourself all day long and you will be shocked at what you are saying.
One that I noticed I often told myself was “I am so tired of …” No wonder I was always tired! I made a conscious effort to stop telling myself I was tired of this or tired of that etc. It made a huge difference!
Caring for another takes a lot of your energy.
That’s why it is important to replenish your energy as often and as efficiently as possible.
Guided meditations are the tool to use if you haven’t gotten enough sleep or are stressed out. I have them on my iPhone, easily accessible.
The reason why guided meditations are so powerful is that it guides your whole body into relaxation. You can take a nap or sit and have a cup of tea, however, there’s nothing more powerful than lying on your back, surrendering your body, closing your eyes and having someone guide you through a deep full body relaxation.
I’ve used guided meditations for years and I have no idea how anyone could live without them. Life is often just too demanding and stressful. This tool has been my savior. I’ve recorded my own guided meditations, using my own voice to literally tell myself to calm down. It’s really wonderful.
Stress has to do with thinking you don’t have enough time to get done what you need to get done. But when you’re stressed, it’s exactly the time that you need to STOP.
You won’t have the effectiveness to get done what you need to get done if you’re stressed. If you’re refreshed, you’ll come back with a clearer mind and a balanced body and do things, overall more efficiently and effectively.
My teacher told me that taking 11 minutes of focused relaxation is like getting a full night’s sleep. So remember if you’re stressed, sleep deprived or beginning to get overwhelmed, or resentful, don’t deny yourself 11 minutes to relax before continuing with your tasks.
You’re of service to no one if you’re so stressed you can’t care with consciousness and love.
If you need a guided meditation to get you started, try it right now! This is the one I use often. It’ll relax your whole body in just 11 minutes.
I’m Anna-Thea, an author, and Divine Feminine Educator. If this article resonated with you and you’d like to find out more about how to take care of yourself as a woman, a mother, a wife, a lover check out my online courses.