Take Care of Yourself And You Will Be Taking Care of Others – “Care-Givers”

Caregiver is a name that many of us own.  From basic parenting scenarios to families complicated with end-of-life, spinal cord injuries, congenital diseases or employees of group homes – care-givers is the generically applied term.

Is it difficult to ID care-givers that “did it right.”  Seeing them is a muscle that operates better by practicing the magical and material skills of empathy, doing rather than saying, so to speak.

By the way, I’m on hold right now with the service provider for our currently nonfunctioning internet.  The hold-music is so bad that I had to put the phone in a closed drawer to muffle it.  #selfcare.  Much better.

There are many people who have cared for me and do care for me.  You for starters have cared for and do care for me in your reading, your time, your thoughts, and comments, you are my givers of care.

I am cared for, and you know I get all fluttery when I start talking about you so I’ll stop before you throw-up.  Unless it’s too late.

There are others who gave and give care, obvious names like parents, spouse and friends. And there are many less obvious names – my dogs talking to me when I get home, the lady who came up to me in the 99-cent store and handed me $20.00 to buy treats for my kids, my psychotherapist who told me to “grow up.”  All these and more have and do care for me.

But do we call these people, (or other living creatures,) caregivers?  Is that a name for what you do for me? Not traditionally but it really is.

The differences are found between those who believe they take care of others when they don’t take care of themselves and the inverse – those who take care of themselves, and as part of that effort to be their own friend see caring for others as a natural maturation of their own needs(Remember, agendas again.) In any other design, taking care of others when we don’t take care of ourselves is not sustainable nor congruent with our intentions.  We become the hare who lost the race to the turtle, angry and confused by our results.

Care for the Caregiver Day
Image by Christiana Care via Flickr

I agree that this attempt to share space with the angels who so lovingly nurture and give to those who can’t give to themselves can be perceived as arrogant, ignorant and other names – creep, idiota, a– h—, pompous, fools, bigots, oblivious, uninformed, (this is fun), benighted, blind, old gum under the picnic table jerks.

Be that as it may, please believe that we speak of caregivers without malice.  And if we are ignorant, please let our flaws inspire you to grow us as empathically as you would like us to grow you.  I know it takes a lot of love to deal with someone like us and it is much easier to walk away.

Questions:  Where do you find yourself in the care you give to others?  What helps you remember your intentions to love yourself when stigma or guilt bang you upside the head?  How do you see that caring for yourself is consistent with your goals to serve others?  Please tell us your story.

Self-Care Tip – Care for yourself and you will see yourself giving care to others.

Related articles

Self-Care Is Not A Moral Issue

Facial emotions.

Image via Wikipedia

I am writing a series of blog-posts outlining self-care in which we examine the tenets of self-care:

Self-Care Tip #263 – Experience, use, observe and interpret emotions, but don’t moralize them.

We sometimes forget about the involved journey to a healthy Me.  Because of this, we become fearful that it means alone-care, apart-from-God-care, selfish-care, excluding experienced-and-professional-input-care and so on.  It’s not.  Self-care is collaborative, yet that doesn’t negate the fact that it must start and end with Me.

When we take care of “Me,” we can connect more with others, including God, have more inside of us to give to others, and have more interest in the world around.  The opposite disables our abilities to do those things.  No one can give what she doesn’t have.

We have this person, “Me,” to take care of.  This “Me” is valuable, of high priority, to be celebrated and cheered on.

Please, shake it off.  Self-care is not a moral issue.  It just is.  It is a choice, a freedom and an opportunity.  It is not about salvation and has no influence on our worth.  It just is.

We are more willing to buy into the, “It just is,” self-care tool when we understand where emotions and behaviors come from – the brain. This biological stance is the evidence for deescalating our drive to moralize emotions and behaviors.  They are not from an aura, a gear we can shift, or any nidus of control outside of our human bodies.  Emotions are how we interpret the world around us.  They are not linked to morality.  Please don’t take them to the pulpit.  If you do, I will still be polite, although breathing through a mask.

Emotions are our interpretive lens for our physical self.

Questions:  How’s the clarity of your lens holding out after considering this part of self-care?  What influence does what you “see” with your emotions have on your ability to befriend yourself?  Please tell me your story.

Introduction to Self-Care

Questions:  How do we collaborate with our patients, or with our clinicians, to take action on behalf of health?  What can we as clinicians or patients do to teach, learn and practice the tenets of the field of self-care?

Self-care is living consistently with the belief that the success of our health (emotional, physical, spiritual) begins and ends, not with “me,” but with “Me.” To teach and practice self-care comes when we understand that the essential self, the Me, is always worth fighting for, always worth the journey, always of value even in the throes of mental illness.  Here at FriendtoYourself.com, we work to define and teach self-care daily, we attack guilt, we stand up to shame, we live as we choose despite stigma and we work harder than we ever have on perhaps the hardest job of our lives.  Self-care is not weak but rather courageous.  It brings us to humble accountability for our lives, not seeking to erase our history but still reminding us that we are free to start over any time.

I will be writing a series of blog-posts outlining self-care in which we will examine the tenets of self-care: self-knowledge, presence, moral neutrality, and connection. We will look at self-care as an essential practice for both clinician and patient, examining the ways in which a self-caring clinician may, in turn, provide better care to her patients, and patients take better care of themselves.

Self-Care Tip #260 – Clarify what it means to be your own friend.

By the way, check out a still unknown glorious writer at ASkirtAWeek.com.

 

Still Interested In Self-Care?

Working for Peanuts

Image via Wikipedia

Self-Care Tip #131 – Start all your efforts and end all your efforts accountably with yourself.

Self-care is:

For many of us, we wonder what self-care is.  Obviously being subjective, it is something unmeasured and changes between us.  It doesn’t interest or make sense to many, depending on their religious biases, culture, temperament and other things.  But others of us, for maybe the same reasons, find self-care to be the place from which our axis swings.  We have together, here at FriendtoYourself.com, through the past eight-plus months, agreed on much of what self-care is and is not.

It is not selfish-care, alone-care, sacrilegious or Godless-care.  It is more than any one thing, for self-care flattens knowledge.  It is not weak but rather courageous.  It brings us to humble accountability for our lives, not erasing our history but still being free to start over any time.  Self-care is living consistent with the belief that the success of our health (emotional, physical, spiritual) begins and ends with Me.

Despite the chorus of boos, we say that we serve God and man better by taking care of ourselves first.  We attack guilt, we stand up to shame, we live as we choose despite stigma and we work harder than we ever have on perhaps the hardest job of our lives.  This is, Self-care.

Are you still interested?

Question:  How do you define self-care?  How is it played out in your life story?  Please tell us.

Self-Care Is About More Than “Me”

Self-Care Tip #208 – If for no other reason, get friendly with yourself simply to survive and you’ll see what that means later.

my self care reminders

Image by CatrinaZ via Flickr

It is not unusual to think of “selfish-care” when we hear “self-care.”  I can imagine children gripping their mother’s skirts more tightly, husbands pulling their helpmate’s hands away from this influence, church-folk sniffing over rejections to service-calls or friends personalizing the way their phone doesn’t ring as much as it used to.  This is a natural response, although it is a false perception.  Think – feeling suffocated by her penance, he’s wearing a martyr’s cross or she’s giving to us from victimhood.  Those are the times we would rather not receive the gifts of time, person or anything dripping with that kind of guilt and implied debt. This kind of service comes from someone impoverished, giving on credit.

I’ve been known to say, “We can’t give what we don’t have.”  Or as Jasmine said,

You can’t give someone a ride if you’re all out of gas!

So when is self-care selfish?  To be true to what self-care is, I’d say almost never.  However, because the question comes from such an intuitive fear in any of us, “never” can’t be an entirely fair answer.  To answer it best though, we need to turn it over and go back to trying to discover why we wanted self-care first.  What brought us here?  Jacqui said it well in yesterday’s post-comments:

Ditto about ‘self-care boot camp’. I may steal that one. You’ve given me permission to be selfish if need be. It’s all about self-preservation.

Sometimes we are reduced to self-preservation.  It has an intensity to it, a survival mode of live or die, which may be appropriate to a desperate condition in life.   Many of us know what that feels like.  So in this context, self-care is in part about survival.  Alright.  But is survival a selfish need?  Are we worth that little?  Does the life in us hold value only at that level?

rejuvenation.self.care.logo

Image by guttersnipe.76 via Flickr

You hear the clomping my words are making and can follow that I answer, no.  Survival has far reaching significance.  I matter.  You matter.  We have value beyond our own selves and Me booting up to live better also ripples over those same infinite number of connections.

I am confident that if for no other reason than getting friendly with yourself simply to survive, you will still see at least some of what more that means later.  Self-care is about more than Me.

Question:  When do you think self-care is selfish?  Why do you think self-care is not?  Please tell me your story.

Take Care of Yourself Better by Knowing What That Means.

Self-care tip #203 – Take care of yourself better by knowing what that means.

What is self-care?

Starting with the responsibility of our own persons needs, not necessarily for selfish reasons or self-less reasons – although it may be.  Self-care may also be starting with our own selves is not so simply because it is the shortest route to doing anything we want in life.  Pick something, anything.  Community service.  Parenting.  Science research.  Evangelism.  Rock-in-roll.  Name it.  Self-care gets you there more effectively and efficiently.

Self-care is not alone-care.  Self-care is a connecting force between Me and Me, Me and you, Me and all Life and Me and God.

What is self-care?

mbti, getting things done, productivity, technology

khouricc.com/blog

Insight.  Insight to our needs.  Insight to our feelings.  Insight to our body function.  Insight to the needs around us and how we intersect with them.  Insight into our behaviors.

Self-care is insight into our own temperaments and pursuing the natural desires, talents, interests of our own design.
Personality Types.

Choices.  Choices to align ourselves with the constructive/positive efforts of our conscious and subconscious selves.  Choices to respond to the insight and own our role implied by the insight.  Choices to take care of our body, concretely – eat well, sleep well, exercise, drink water, take our vitamins and medications as prescribed.  Choices to Love and be Loved.  Choices to connect with others and relinquish the pride that drives our isolation.  Choices to be as healthy as possible as a gift to yourself and to those you love.

Self-care is letting go of our history.

Self-care is grabbing responsibility for now and our future.

Self-care is knowing that no one is responsible for how I feel, behave, think or function, except Me.

Question:  What is self-care for you?  Please tell me your story.

This Side of the Fence

When taking care of ourselves, we are taking care of others.  It might be counterintuitive.  There is a circle service can turn us in.  I give to you, I take care of you, I start realizing at some level that I’m not being taken care of, I hold you responsible now for my neglect, and then around again.  Some support this pattern from cultural influences.  Some with intuition.

This can be a place we find ourselves in our relationship to anything or anyone.  Employment or even unemployment.  We may find ourselves saying things like why me, or feeling like we are selected out by some greater force to suffer.  Any time self-reflection whispers anything about the word “victim,” look for the “circle-walk.”

Now some listening to this might say service is the best thing of their lives and imply that without service, life isn’t right.  Sure.  However, that’s not my argument.  Mine is that taking care of one’s own self is also a form of service to others.  In fact, let’s boldly put taking care of one’s self at the top of the service list.  Standing up there can feel awkward, presumptive, selfish, unChristian.  What does it feel like for you?

I’m told 😉 this is hard.  It is.  We just try our best.  Every day we try again.  Every moment we remember, we try.  My husband often says, “God is a God of second chances.”  I think He wants us to treat ourselves with as much courtesy.

In addictions therapy, we tell the addict that a relapse isn’t a failure, it is part of the road to recovery.  When we take care of ourselves, we may find ourselves up against any number of forces, including patterned negative behaviors. We can learn from the brave people fighting the disease of addiction. When we don’t treat ourselves well, we are not a failure.  Rather we are on the road to becoming a better friend to ourselves.  That also takes courage.

Onward and upward my friends!  Let me know what you think.

Self Care Tip #28 – Look at your own side of the fence.  Be a friend to yourself.