The Evolution of Me
The more I talk with other caregivers about self-care, the more I learn about the different ways that we all view self-care.
In theory, it should not be so surprising as our experiences as caregivers differ so much. That is why it’s so important to have conversations and ask questions as I love learning how parents of children with special needs view their life, view their needs and view their role.
I met with a parent caregiver last week and the mother shared that she likens self-care to a mosaic. That it is in fact, a messy path - she then took out her pen and scribbled all over a page of paper to illustrate that it’s a messy circle where we can move from one area to the next.
For example, one month we may be really good at managing our emotions and then something happens that triggers us, and then, we have a bad month trying to regain control of our emotions.
Once she said that, it made so much sense!! I immediately began to worry about how I had previously spoken about the “path” of self-care. As a self-care coach, I always speak to my self-care journey - as that is what I know. I think back and noticed that I would use the words “the first step in my self-care journey” - which makes it sound like one’s self-care journey is linear. That the self-care journey has a beginning and an end.
I wondered whether that reference to a path speaks to my Type A personality where I like to check an item off a list and then believe that item is done or resolved? Maybe I had in fact been fooling myself all along as a way to protect myself from the pain that comes and goes when we are in the thick of daily caregiving challenges.
In the discussion, the mother shared that the important work that I’m doing is in encouraging and offering caregivers a no-judgment zone to explore self-care.
Therefore, does it matter that I thought self-care was linear, when a better description is in fact a mosaic? Not really, if the environment is a safe space where there is NO judgement, NO comparison and NO right or wrong.
If I preach grace, love and compassion for all caregivers, then maybe I can give myself that same grace, love and compassion to myself regarding my understanding and teachings of self-care.
Then, when an issue re-appears, I will be better prepared to receive it and work through it.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this blog. Please share in the comments below.
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As we all know, caregiving doesn’t discriminate against age, race, religion or sexual orientation. Therefore, there are lots of opinions, ideas, experiences and perspectives that come to the caregiver table.