You ARE! Telling yourself, your mom, your sisters … anyone who will listen will only keep the stress levels high. You KNOW this. You can FEEL it. Yes, you need to let it out, to express it. But Jesu – STOP swimming in the stories!
Stop feeling all sorry for yourself. You got this. And YES! it’s stressful at home. Don’t keep telling yourself why and how. Instead, use the tools that you know to help mitigate the stress. Undo!
Your life depends on it. Your kid’s life depends on it. Your man’s life depends on it. ——————
This moment was a moment of self awareness for me. The struggles we are having with my mother-in-law have been coming to a head. With no sense of urgency from the siblings, we are stuck in the middle. She’s in so much pain, can hardly walk, and her arms hurt too much to use the walker. She prays every day to die, asks us if she should move out, if she is being too much for us. Our house, where she lives, is not set up at all to be able to accommodate a wheelchair. The sisters-in-law have been saying they will apply for medicaid for her but that was over a year ago. Everyday I feel like there is a ticking time-bomb about to go off.
I find myself ruminating on all of the negative situations that happen daily, sometimes to myself (really a lot of the times 😕) and sometimes to family and friends. Yes, I need to vent but the constant thinking about it is driving me mad. It’s literally stressing me over and over again each time I think about it. Just typing this I can feel my heart beating faster.
So that moment of awareness led to a moment of clarity. Whenever I start to go down the rabbit hole of ruminations, I will practice one of my tools. This way, instead of putting more holes in my bucket of energy and having it drain me, I’ll be fixing the holes and filling it up. It will be a really good way to become more resilient to the daily stresses.
Scientists have found that emotions are our primary drivers of our physiology. Meaning the emotional ups-and-downs, the ruminations, the worries are what drain our energy. This can lead to illness, exhaustion and burnout if left unchecked.
In my twenty-year career in the wellness field, I have been given the opportunity to learn a lot of tools and techniques for self-care. Now it is time to put them to use on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis.
What are tools that I use?
*HeartMath *Gratitude Journaling *Mirror work *Sleep Hypnosis *Massage *Meditation *Music *Dancing *Audiobooks *Reading *Playing games with my kid *Writing *Going for a walk *Laughing *Talking to friends or a therapist *Breathing (take 100 slow deep breaths… yes 100)
*Doing all of this with Mindfulness, the knowing that I am filling up my energy bucket and curtailing more energy drain is key. Feeling guilty for taking care of yourself negates the action. Love your family enough to take care of yourself.
Also try: running, kickboxing, getting more sleep, taking a bath, floating
All of the above tools have been scientifically-proven to change the environment of your body; from one of stress and fight-or-flight to one of relaxation and revitalization. Some take a few minutes, others take a longer time period.
As you move through your day, find time to do some of the above techniques. Sitting at a red-light? Make a mental list of all the things you are grateful for. Or take a few mindful, deep breaths. (Did you know that deep breathing actually calms your nervous system, that’s why it works)
I drive a lot for work and I’ve found a new love of audiobooks. They help make the long drives enjoyable and I look forward to the drive so I can hear more of the stories.
Music is good for when I need to change my emotional state. Working in the hospice field, it can get very heavy and clearing out the emotional charge is so important going from patient to patient. But this can be said also for switching the emotional charge from work to home or vice versa.
Let yourself vent for one conversation a day. Ten minutes tops. Preferably in the morning so you can calm your nerves before bed. Talking with a therapist or group support will help get the frustrations out. To hold onto them is like holding onto poison. So get the frustration and anger out, writing helps too.
Mirror work is something I’ve done in the past but am incorporating it more now. Each night, look into the mirror and say to yourself “I love you, you are doing a great job, I was really happy you did ‘this’ today, and how you handled ‘that’.” This seems easy but it is so powerful especially right before bed.
Sleep Hypnosis is a tool that I starting using while going through my divorce. IPad, earbuds, and YouTube have made this so easy. There a few people I have listened to on YouTube but the one I listen to the most is Michael Seely. Here is the link for the track I listen to the most; https://youtu.be/rCGGIK0oPkQ
Finding out what fills your bucket is essential to reduce the stress load in your life. Caregiving is a noble calling, but caregiver burnout is a real thing. Fill your bucket first, and let others drink from the over-flow.
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