Attention all caregivers, helpers, and overall hard workers (this automatically includes Moms)! I’d like to proclaim this Self-Care Month.
As any good-hearted helper knows, it’s possible to get caught in the cycle of helper/victim. The agreement to help may not take into account all that is required. When overextended, it’s likely to feel unappreciated for good efforts or sacrifices, or stuck in some way. There may be times when “I don’t have the time!” or “I can’t do one more thing.” is muttered or exclaimed. “Why am I doing this? Why did I sign up for this? Why doesn’t anyone else pitch in?” are frustrations that may be expressed.
Having recently cared for a loved one in preparation for surgery and during its recovery, the experience of caregiver and its effects are fresh. As willing as I was, I was stretched before I began, and was left emotionally and physically depleted. This was largely preventable. Through reflection, I decided to be responsible for keep my energies strong and balanced. As a result, I’ve changed my daily routine to ensure I keep my tank filled before using my gas for others.
While reviewing principles a business client and I were implementing for his company to improve employee engagement and performance, it was clear to me that the same four steps would be apt for one’s personal life as well. According to an article about remediating the depleting experience many people have at work (“Why We Hate Work”), simple needs have been revealed which, when met, create significant positive changes in commitment, passion, enthusiasm and focused energy.
Physical: The need to renew and recharge every 90 minutes. These breaks contribute to greater focus, creativity and well-being.
Emotional: The need to feel valued and appreciated for our contributions. When cared for and supported, we become over 60% more engaged.
Mental: The need for time to focus in an absorbed way, without interruption, on priorities.
Spiritual: The need to feel connected to a higher purpose, something bigger than ourselves.
Join me in taking steps to:
1. Schedule frequent breaks, even to step outside, check Facebook, take a quick walk, sit with eyes closed, or engage in self-care.
2. Decide each day upon the best time for uninterrupted focus on priorities, notify others and stick to it.
3. Stay in contact with someone who can be your cheerleader-validating your good actions and reminding you of the bigger reason why you are involved.
4. Institute a short practice each day that connects you to nature or your ultimate source, or inspires you.
Now, when we agree to help others or be a caregivers, we can account for our own needs as well.
It’s your Self-Care Month. How do you include the daily four?