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Are You Caring For Yourself?

Most of you are so concerned about caring properly for your loved ones that you ignore yourself behind a myriad of excuses. You know that caregiving as at times left you in isolation with no socializing if you care for someone on a 24/7 basis. At times you may find yourself falling into that woe is me victim state wanting someone to comfort you, to assist you, to make it all right. The truth is that no one can care for you except you!

This means working through the guilt, taking care of the children and your spouse etc. You may say, there aren't enough hours in the day to take just five minutes for yourself. By now you also know that your energy gets depleted, you may become depressed, your immune system may weaken from the stress and along with endless other symptoms you wonder how you can cope any longer. You manage to come up with excuses for not caring for yourself and your needs go unmet. Something must change and the change must originate from you; from deep within. It is about choices and making change. This is not the first article you have encountered on or off-line that supports you in taking care of yourself; permitting yourself to nurture you.

In your writings this week, I would like you to draw a big circle on a piece of paper and divide the circle as if you were dividing a pie up into slices. Before you divide, think about all the things you do repetively on a daily basis so that you can portion out these activites in a percentage type form. This means sleeping, cooking, eating, your loved one's regiment etc.

Next I would like you to take a fresh piece of paper and write down 25 things which bring you happiness. Don't give too much thought to this. Be spontaneous. Write down whatever comes to mind as quickly as possible.

Now place a mark next to every item on your list which appears in the pie you have drawn. If your needs fall short, you sure know the reason why.

However, this is no time to start beating yourself up. It is an opportunity to start taking responsibility for your own happiness and peace of mind. Begin initiating this change by picking out one of the realistic items on your list and go for it. Just do it! No excuses! And slowly, begin to check everything off your list until it is complete. You may find that it can take a long time until you can add a checkmark to a specific item, but know that as a result of writing it down and your beginnning to take action, that you can create the opportunities to fulfill everything you have listed. Use the message boards, go to chats, and reach out for support. Start by taking baby steps; one step at a time, knowing that you are now taking care of you.

Remember the phrase, "after me, you come first." If you cannot be there for you, how will you be able to be there for your loved one?

Take time, daily to write about your experiences, your resistance, the self limitations you impose on yourself, your guilt, and all the distractions. Observe them and see how you can actually create a dialogue that you have with yourself. Reassure yourself that it is okay to do what you are doing. Give yourself permission. I have faith in you. You can do it.

If life is a journey, so is caregiving. When a loved one is very ill or terminal it is up to you to choose to do something to live your life fully as a part of you is also dying.

Blessings to you..

Copyrighted by Gail R. Mitchell 02/26/2000


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