My wise tea bag asked me, “What can you appreciate in this moment?” and I replied, “Nourishing myself with this cup of tea and pausing.”
I hear from so many people who feel so depleted and don’t have time to replenish themselves: too much to do and other priorities. I am not suggesting you take two weeks off and go to the Bahamas. (Though I admit that sounds amazing, it’s not always feasible.) It is the smallest of things that you can do for yourself that can make the most significant impact.
Last week I met with a friend for a walk and talk. Time flies by when we jump from personal life to business, and we always seem to come up with something magnificent from our discussions. No politics, no earth disasters, down-to-earth human-soul discussions that are heartwarming and inspiring – I love that time together. And it fills me up.
My calendar is often packed solid with business meetings and personal to-do’s, but sprinkled throughout is time for friends or outdoor adventures that are ON my calendar. The balance between work and life, whether you are caring for someone personally or professionally, is a crucial part of self-compassion.
It’s not just the calendar but the emotional endurance we must pay attention to – the ability to adapt and overcome emotionally challenging situations. As much as our egos think we can control things, we cannot always predict what life spins at us, and we surely cannot dictate how other people react or respond. Resilience and adaptability are key. Running the marathon of caregiving is not always easy, and on the personal side of family caregiving, I can attest to getting wrung out and spun out. Developing a ‘toolset’ of balancing mechanisms is vital in the emotional marathon.
Therapy helps. Connections help. I saw a therapist who helped me make sense of my feelings and reactions and helped elevate the beating-myself-up syndrome. I also joined a walking group for family caregivers. The emotional release was amazing! To be able to talk to others and be heard without judgment, without the need to ‘fix’ anything, was a powerful support. Ultimately it propelled me to start Breathing Spaces – a safe landing for family caregivers, expanding to professional caregivers and now opening the door to anyone interested in becoming a better caregiver for themselves: community support works.
You don’t need to do this alone. Join us in one of our avenues of support in our Compassion Circles – light your pathway so you can shine.