In this edition of Caregiver Tip Tuesday, we look at making the most of summer and taking some much needed time off to focus on self-care!
A former mentor of mine shared the following wisdom with me about the meaning of life.
1. Life is a ceaseless inquiry into itself for its own sake.
2. Real therapy is supporting Life. For humans, it's the ever present invitation and opportunity of relationship.
3. Self-reflective awareness affords the means to "see" the way in which one relates to oneself, others, the world and Life itself. Life invites continuous opportunities to explore the principle of relationship for no other reason than it's an attribute of life and of being alive.
Summer is here! July and August are the two months of the year that we cherish in Canada because we can often take time off work and relax. We can enjoy the sunlight and warmth, swim, party and focus on having fun! Summer is also a great time to learn how to focus on self-care. Self-care is the first and most basic step towards conscious living, which is fundamental to becoming the CEO of your life. When you have consciously chosen to become the CEO of your life, you are:
However, self-care isn't as easy as one might think. I have worked with several clients - most of whom were excellent caregivers – that struggled with looking after themselves. An example of good self-care is demonstrated on commercial flights when the crew outlines the safety procedures. One of the steps they emphasize is to give oxygen to yourself before you help a child. Most caregivers struggle to think about themselves first and find it difficult to put their wants and needs above another’s. Therefore, many people need to be reminded to look after themselves first in order to be strong and healthy and competently able to care for their loved ones.
Self-care is complicated because we are complicated beings. We are comprised of four major systems that are intricately interwoven together. These systems (physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual) have important needs that must be met. We are all unique with different needs, wants, likes and interests so our individual programmes for this summer will need to honour our uniqueness.
1. Honour your spirit by spending at least one hour every day communing with nature and reflecting on life.
2. Look after your physical needs and wants as best you can. Get enough rest. Exercise through play if at all possible. Eat all of the glorious fruits and vegetables of the season.
3. Have fun! Your heart will love you for enjoying life and letting go of your normal concerns. Turn off your computer and cell phone. Instead of watching television, get together with friends and enjoy "doing" with them or just "being" with them.
4. Pick up a good book and enjoy reading outside as you feel the warmth of the sun and the soft touch of the comforting summer breeze on your skin. Listen to the birds and possibly the water as it laps the shore.
5. If you can't get away from home for a couple of weeks this summer, plan to do one or two of the first four suggestions every evening and every weekend.
6. Days trips can boost the spirit and heart as well as look after our physical and intellectual needs.
I hope that each of you enjoys a beautiful, restful and fun summer. May you carry your wonderful memories as well as your lessons learned regarding the importance of self-care and conscious living into the Fall and incorporate them into the tapestry of your lives. In doing this, you have planted more seeds to encourage even greater personal growth.
Until next time, take very gentle care of yourself!
Patricia Butler is a Psychotherapist, has had a long standing career in life coaching and development consulting. Over the years she has helped a number of caregivers and patients through various life altering situations. Her motto? "Don't wait for a crisis. The smaller the mountain, the easier it is to climb." Patricia will be blogging on a number of topics including life transitions, healing, communication issues, and positive lifestyles changes.