Regardless of your role in life, whether a family caregiver or care professional, the one constant in the position you provide and the people you interact with is YOU. How you show up can be a balancing act and one that you may stumble at from time to time.
There are days where I am point on. My actions and reactions align with what I want them to be. And there are days where I have been ‘on’ for hours and can hear the signs of becoming less authentic and more agitated from trying to get it all done. My internal tuning fork raised its hand and said – time out!
It is a great feeling to get things accomplished, but things can slip when you have put the pedal to the metal throughout your whole day. It is crucial, especially when you’re going full speed or feeling run down, to become aware of the need to stop and check in with how you are mentally/emotionally feeling. Reacting negatively from a drained mind and body can happen quickly when you’re worn down, and will likely cause you to say or do something you’ll regret later.
Pull the plug when you find yourself at a drained point and ready to react. If you’re at your computer ready to fire off that email or in the middle of a conversation and feel anger rising, get up and walk away. Get outside if you can and take a short walk, or at the very least, take in three long deep breaths. Shift the energy.
Communication 101 – pause before reacting. Once the words are out of your mouth, you can’t take them back.
That pause and language are equally valid with your conversations with yourself. We all have an inner critic that sits on our shoulders and can quite easily begin tapping at our egos. I remember as a child being so upset because I wasn’t able to tie my shoe. My grandmother gently reached out, touched my hand, and said, “Honey, take it slowly. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Let’s try this again. Somethings take practice, but you’ll get there”.
Through the softness of her voice and gentle response, the negative energy dissipated quickly. I think of that from time to time when I feel myself getting ramped up.
The kindness you so often give to your patients and loved ones should be reflected to you, too. Cut yourself some slack when that negative voice arises and do the same with others. You don’t know what they are going through at the moment or what situation they just came out of. Pause. Reset. Reengage.
Go gently through your days.