Well this new year.., a 1 year no less, which is about new beginnings, is starting out kind of intensely! That doesn’t mean it lacks the sense or feeling of being a fresh start. But, wow. Not the way I imagined!
In many ways I feel fortunate, because the most intense parts I have been more of a witness to or participant of. Not the focus of the challenge! But at the same time, I have had to constantly remind myself to be checking in with where I am. What I need to do to keep taking care of myself.
I think this happens to a lot of us. We have partners, kids, parents, friends, clients or co-workers who are going through tough stuff. As a result what we are experiencing is altered too! We are empathetic and compassionate beings for the most part. So even when we think it is someone else who is confronting a major challenge, illness or obstacle; frequently it affects us too! Maybe not as severely.., but there is impact.
It is easy to divert our focus or attention away from our own needs, when someone we love or care about needs our support/care. In fact, many of us were raised in family, cultural or societal situations that demanded we take care of others first. We are programmed to put other people’s needs in front of our own.
Now there is nothing I would do different in terms of the support I have been providing since the first of the year. But I have also had to constantly remind myself to check-in and take care of myself. Whether that is eating right, exercise, rest, or just releasing the emotional energies that build when you are worried for someone else!
It is easy to think “I will take care of that when everything is back to normal”. While in truth, what we are doing may be depleting our own energies. We often overlook our own self-care.
I just happen to be tracking several things everyday as a part of some lifestyle changes I have been implementing over the past couple of months. One of the things I have been doing for myself is a 20 minute morning relaxation/yoga stretch/meditation series. It has had some amazing relief for my knees and lower back. It has been awesome for such a simple routine.
However, for one week, while I was in caregiver mode, I simply forgot to do it. I was tracking it daily, but it wasn’t until the end of the week that I realized I hadn’t done it once. I had the time. I wasn’t so busy that I couldn’t. I just was so distracted that I didn’t do it. And this is just one example.
I’m sure there were many things that I did or didn’t do, that would have been different under “normal” circumstances (whatever normal means!!)!
Yet this is when we need to take care of ourselves the most. Maybe our time is limited, we have unexpected appointments or commitments that require extra time or effort. Still, we need to check in with ourselves. Make sure our own needs are being met. That we are present – mind, body, emotions and spirit, to our own needs.
Otherwise.., we burn ourselves out and will be of no service or support to those who we want to care for! Like they say on the plane “Put your mask on first before assisting others”
PS… I will be facilitating a new monthly series on Intentional Living beginning in February. It will be the 3rd Thursday of each month. See Upcoming Events calendar for details! I hope you will join me!
With Light, Love, and Laughter