This is something I truly feel compelled to speak about because it’s a reality for so many of us. How do we keep giving care to our loved one when we ourselves are burned out and need a break? What do you do when there’s no one to turn to, or turn your responsibilities over to, even for just a few hours?
I’ve dealt with this experience so many times in the these past several years of being a caregiver. The hard part for me has been that for the most part, people on the outside of the situation tend to say things like -‘yes but your mother is more important.’ How can that be? Who’s ‘more important’, the lifeguard or the person drowning? I say they’re equally important – WE are equally important. And if no one else has told you today – you’re doing an amazing job and the sheer fact that you stepped up to the plate lets me know that you’re a strong person with deep levels of integrity.
So back to the issue. What do you do when you have to keep going? How do you reboot without getting away? The first thing is to recognize that you are burned out. Don’t beat yourself up or ignore it, just admit it to yourself. It’s perfectly natural and it’s okay. What we do is tremendously stressful and to continue to perform in compassion we have to be real about that. Here are a few techniques that have helped me…
1. Focus on your breathing
This is a standby technique for me that I use just about every day. The number one way that stress starts to be experienced in our bodies is through shallow breathing. If you feel like you’re coming to the edge – stop and take the deepest breath you can. If you can step away and reconnect with 3-4 deep breaths, this is even better. Repeat a positive phrase to yourself ‘I’m okay, I’m okay, I’m okay.’ This truly helps me calm down and get some clarity when I feel overwhelmed.
2. Focus on the Beauty
One of the things I strive to do as a habit now is to focus on things – especially on a visual or audio level- that make me happy. Surround yourself with music that soothes you, go outside and look at the trees, listen to the birds – look at a fashion or travel magazine. Couple this with deep breathing and you will feel much more peaceful and clear.
3. Have a Glass of water
Staying hydrated is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves. It keeps us from overeating and will keep headaches at bay as well. The last thing we need on top of feeling overwhelmed is to not feel good about our weight. Prepare it in a special way. In a nice glass, with our without ice, still or sparkling… and be sure to sit down – don’t rush and drink the entire glass.
These tips aren’t a trip to Tahiti, but they are tried and true, tested techniques that will work to eliminate the stress and rejuvenate you as you continue to care and give.
Author Bio: Donna Deniese (nicknamed ‘Deane’) is a spiritual author, teacher, degreed interior designer and caregiver. Through the challenges of being a caregiver to her mother with Multiple Sclerosis, Deane has emerged with a unique and powerful perspective. Her self-development teachings include: happiness, faith, self-love, owning your thought life and stress management. Deane now helps people correctly activate the visual aspects of their lives for fuller, happier, more beautiful living. For more information or to obtain her free e-book ‘Be Happy Now’ please visit http://www.donnadeniese.com
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