How To Take Care Of Yourself While Caring For Others
How to take care of yourself while taking care of others leaves absolutely no room for victim energy.
If you are 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 will 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 are all interconnected. Probably more than we realize. Our lives are dependent upon all of us providing services for each other.
Your children and elderly parents are counting on your love and support. This is a beautiful thing and part of the cycles of life.
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.
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 care giver is not easy. But it is necessary if you are to care for others in a way that is authentic, loving and true.
That is why knowing how to care for yourself is a big part of good caregiving.
Here are 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 It is called martyrdom and is totally outdated.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.
Still, where there is a will to take care of yourself while caring for others, there is a way.
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 super woman.
The best way to take care of yourself while caring for another is to figure out what you can delegate, figure out who can do it, and ask for help.
Many of us take on the attitude that “I am strong” or “It is weak to ask for help.” This is the furthest from the truth. The truth is it takes courage to ask for help and it is 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 want to be helpful if they can and if they know there is an opportunity. Put on your creative thinking cap and see what others in your immediate family, friends, and community can help you with.
It is simply a muscle you need to develop. 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 are hurting yourself and the person you are giving care to. This is not love. It is not service. It is not good caregiving…it is misery. This is caregiving and resentment all wrapped in one.
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 have 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 is life.
Nonetheless, don’t let yourself get lost in it.
Besides the delegation muscle 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 tool box 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 is 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 is nothing more powerful than lying on your back, surrendering your body, closing your eyes and through assistance having someone guided you through a deep full body relaxation.
I have used guided meditations for years and I have no idea how anyone could live without them. I have recorded my own guided meditations, using my own voice to literally tell myself to calm down. It is really wonderful.
Stress has to do with thinking you don’t have enough time to get done what you need to get done, but it is 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 are stressed. If you are refreshed you will come back with a clearer mind and 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 are stressed, sleep deprived or beginning to get overwhelmed and even resentful don’t deny yourself 11 minutes to relax before continuing with your duties.
You are of service to no one if you are so stressed you can’t care with consciousness and love.
If you need a guided meditation to get you started, download my 11 minute guided meditation directly from my site. It will relax your whole body.
I’m Anna-Thea, an author, and educator for women’s empowerment. If this article resonated with you and you would like to find out more about how to take care of yourself as a woman, a mother, a wife, a lover please visit www.LeaderofLove.com