Balance for life when your a care giver can make or break the life of the care giver and the ones they care for.
People who choose to be care givers for a living and throughout their life have a huge heart and an amazing soul.
What I see so often in my own profession as a "giver" is that they usually don't take care of themselves.
This leads to burn out, resentment, health problems, and increased doctor visits, counseling, etc.
This is a topic I have great experience with both personally and professionally.
I have lived this care giving lifestyle and ended up overwhelmed and burnt out.
I have hit all the bumps in the care giving road and come out of it as a much more balanced care giver.
Care giving takes boundaries, personal and professional boundaries.
Care givers must learn when things are just starting to get to be too much so they can let themselves off the hook, and not take on another project.
Boundaries also means having them set up so you can leave as much of your work or care giving behind and focus on yourself and your own enjoyments.
It's also very acceptable to take time out for yourself and enjoy life.
When things are getting overwhelming care givers are allowed to say no and delegate.
First understand the world will not blow up if you say no.
People will continue to live and survive.
Most people will not be angry at you for setting boundaries.
Many will be pleased that you have.
I once heard, and have repeated time and time again, we teach people how to treat us.
If we act like a door mat people will treat us like a door mat.
If we act like a bully people will treat us like a bully.
If we are assertive and have personal and professional boundaries people will learn to respect them.
It's time to start creating boundaries.
Have a schedule and use it as a back up for saying no.
Schedule time for yourself in it first.
If you don't use a schedule try downloading one for free from Springpad.
If you don;t make time for yourself no one else will.
Start being mindful of your emotional health and your physical health.
In order to take the best care of others you yourself must be healthy.
If your feeling overwhelmed then it's time to take some time to yourself.
This doesn't have to be large amounts of time, it could be 10-15 minutes a day of prayer, meditation, reading a book, exercise, or a bubble bath.
Listen to your body.
Are you noticing more and more headaches, stomach problems and the like? It's time to take better care of yourself.
Manage your diet and exercise more.
See a chiropractor or an acupuncturist.
Get a massage.
Take a yoga class.
Take stock in your support system.
Do you utilize the supports you have? Are they positive and helpful? Have you done a lot for them and their always asking how they can repay you? If you have a lot of personal negative influence try to filter them out and connect more with the positive people you have.
If their asking how they can help ask for help.
This is a chance to let them give back and see how good it feels to be a giver.
Accepting help can be hard for care givers.
Care givers see themselves and strong and independent.
So do those around you, they just want a chance to give back.
Take a dee breath and let them.
Some people find religion and spirituality very helpful, connect with your church, Minister, or some other spiritually healing place to help ease your pain and stress.
Also monitor what your watching on TV.
Negative shows and news can really increase your stress and anxiety.
Leaving work at work and home at home is extremely difficult.
Monitoring your thoughts and changing them can be helpful.
This takes time so be patient.
Journaling works instantly as well as long term.
It begins to rewire your brain to a more healthy way of thinking and being.
Journaling can take many forms, a daily ritual, or just when your most stressed and upset, gratitude journal are also helpful, as well as letter writing to those you are mad at or grieving over.
With letter writing you are allowed to say what ever it is your thinking and feeling, though it is not a letter to send to them.
If home is filtering into your work life it's also time to filter it out.
Limit calls unless they are truly emergencies.
Allow your loved one to learn to care for themselves.
We all have to do it on our own to learn to have self-confidence, respect, and to become self-directed.
As care givers we have to learn to let our loved ones fail and make mistakes so they can learn from them.
Everyone learns more from mistakes than successes.
Creating better balance is possible.
It takes time, patience, and persistence.
Balance ebbs and flows like the ocean tides.
However the more we practice the better we get at creating balance for life.