I had it all set. Gut healing ideas with delicious recipes. Something was holding me back, what was it I truly needed to say? Those recipes are meant for next week. It started in my A.M. routine with a celebration of #internationalselfcareday and it hit the hardest after leaving #ghostchild weekly speech therapy appointment as #redreignofterror was screaming over a perceived wrong of seating in the car. Lots of deep breathing as I parent and process our new information. We will not be able to complete therapy in the short term with the addition of further testing and, hopefully, the additional of occupational therapy. Being a parent or caregiver is serious work. Being one with people with disabilities, disorders, syndromes, etc is over whelming. Finding balance between extraordinary needs, family dynamics, and just life is over whelming.
I have to put my mask on first.
Self care is crucial to my survival and my family’s gears moving.
For us and for those we care for. You need to make a commitment for yourself so you can make the most of you and your caregiver self. It takes intention, creativity, and setting priorities. It’s not impossible.
Care for your body. The physical toll affects more than the physical self. Sleep is priority one. Best case is sleeping a good eight hours or more as needed. If that doesn’t happen, naps. They are not just for preschoolers. Sleep deprivation infiltrates EVERYTHING- from how your body functions to brain functions. EVERYTHING. You need as much sleep as you can get. It may mean no’s to extra activity, committing to a set routine, back ground noises, and more.
What you eat is priority. Low fat and sugar, high protein and veggies. Unhealthy fats and unhealthy sugars negatively impact your ability to function- body and mind. There are good fats that are imperative like avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, eggs, etc. Those in appropriate amount give your body and brain the boost it needs. You need the right sugar from complex grains. Quick energy. A small cup of coffee is life changing. Add that too. Sleep and good nutrition is better for your overall health and will be a major contributor to your success as a caregiver.
…Your mind. Sanity may be in short supply or non existent some days. Or all days. We need to be intentional in care for our minds as equally as we are with our bodies. In pouring to your physical body enhances your mental health. It affects our decision making, emotions, and stamina. Your mind is immensely powerful. When not cared for, it can be your enemy. Your pact to your mind is to declutter it. Meditation, prayer, coloring, journaling, support group or friend. You need at least one of these things. I use all of them! We need some where to exhale our love, frustration, exhaustion, victories, and so forth. We need a safe place to inhale grace, comfort, strength, and pebbles of sanity. Release and renew your brain. Part of this pact is acknowledging and setting limitations. We are humans. Super humans, yet very human. We have limitations. A rubber band can only go so far. It does snap. Ask my family when my rubber band snapped. And who did it. Know and advocate your limitations.
Honor your spirit or soul. Whichever you choose. We are designed to be connected and caregiving has a way to isolate us. We must be intentional to connect for our health and caregiving. Seek and accept help then take opportunities outside of your caregiving space to connect with community(ies). Share the burden. When you are isolated your head has a way of getting stuck. It takes effort and strength to get out and connect. Gives you perspective. It is possible to do something. Especially if you are accepting help. We must connect ourselves to other selves. The more you connect, the more support you find and discover value in your unique purpose.
Set a self care intention. A few minutes a day on prayer and meditation is often what I have and I take it. Grooming is efficient but a necessary part of my morning to tell my brain and body I matter. I choose my food carefully most days. I am active within my limitations. In all my self care, I am working on grace the most. That’s the hardest. When things like today hit, I feel so small and never enough. Am I giving enough? What could I do better? Feel me? Inhale. Exhale. I need to allow grace and affirm I am doing everything within my means.
Acknowledge your fear. Find grace. Affirm yourself.
Namaste and celebrate self care everyday