The Heart of Caregiving Shows Caregivers How to Be Stress Free!
By Sonia S Morrison
There are six principles of caregiving and six principles of self care. This article introduces the first principle of self care, FIT. For a caregiver to be well balanced and focused in life, all six principles of self care need to be practiced. The other six principles of self care will be addressed in future articles and are FUN, FREE, FAMILY, FINANCE, and FUTURE.
To be FIT we need to balance all three parts of ourselves; body, spirit and mind. Our body, spirit and mind each need three things; fuel, exercise and rest. When we are in balance, our focus and caring are more easily maintained. What works for one caregiver may not work for another caregiver. What works at one time in your life may not work in another. Using The Heart of Caregiving 1-2-3 System will provide lasting benefits.
Focusing on body first, what kind of fuel works best for you? What are your beliefs and realities for the food and drink that you choose? What food choices give you optimum energy or make you lethargic or grumpy? Are you hydrating yourself and taking the time you need for your own rest, toileting and hygiene? Are there medications that need to be included in your food and hydration plan? Do you need help to think about your body?
For exercise examples; in my earlier years, my primary transportation was my bicycle and I was happiest when I danced six hours daily and played beach volleyball a few hours, several times each week. Now a ten minute bounce, an hour walk, a bit of grounding gardening are complimented with weekly dancing. Other adventures could be Pilates or Kickboxing classes, biking, rock climbing, hot tub, sauna, or swim. Many exercises, especially, Qi Gong and Yoga are beneficial for all three parts of ourselves; body, spirit and mind.
Our caregiving spirits are fueled by both meditative time and creative space. For some caregivers this refueling is being in nature and for other caregivers it is daydreaming. Expressing ourselves with art by making things or reading something inspirational; like a story, a poem, a quote, or other inspirational guides provide exercise for the spirit. Inspiration may come from listening to music, watching a video or movie, praying, giving to others and being in community. Sometimes, simply being aware of another person’s perspective can be uplifting. Resting our spirit by letting go, to a greater source, is healthy.
In my experience, the mind with a positive mental attitude will bring success every time. Freedom from fear is very liberating and possible. An open mind on all subjects and toward all people is worth striving for. This self discipline of openness will allow us to grow the wisdom of understanding people, while being engaged in the labor of love, caregiving. Often we need to take time to reflect, realize and remember the strengths we have to offer. The willingness to share blessings with others may best guide our actions and build our faith. This faith will grow our hope of future achievement and provide financial security.
The FIT Tip; 1) Daily be with yourself. 2) Use a 15 minute timer to write in a journal. 3) Use the acronym, RICE to guide you into daily habits with lasting change. R.I.C.E.=Re-evaluate Intimacy (with self and others), Communicate changes and Exercise them. Intimacy is a shorter way of asking if you are living your life authentically and to your purpose. Remember, body, spirit and mind need fuel, exercise and rest.
Body Spirit Mind need Fuel Exercise Rest. Success=BSM+FER
Optimum self care leads to balance and focus for caregivers.
“The Heart of Caregiving” by Sonia Morrison Please send an email to email@example.com, comments and questions welcomed. I summarize my twenty year journey through health care and education, finding balance and focus to maintain my unconditional love and passion to make things right for humans. Learn How to Care for Self while Caring for Others And Be An Effective Caregiver. “The Heart of Caregiving” will be available November 2011 Discover Balance, Focus and Harness Healthy Caring.