self-care

Today’s Self-Care Sunday features author and caregiver Karen Sebastian. She tackles the importance of caregivers taking care of themselves physically and shredding the excuses.

How then do you gain the essence of wisdom? You cross the threshold of true knowledge when you live in obedient devotion to God. Stubborn know-it-alls will never stop to do this, for they scorn true wisdom and knowledge.

Proverbs 1:7 TPT

Why Caregivers Don’t Take Care of Themselves

You’ve heard the lectures and the logic about the urgent need for caregivers to include self-care in their lives. And yet, you still are not taking their advice and making self-nurture a viable part of your life. My goal is to guide you in changing your life through wisdom and knowledge. Perhaps you feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start.Here’s a simple exercise that can help you.

Ready?

Before we get started, grab two pieces of blank paper and your favorite pen. In the middle of one write Excuses and in the second write Solutions.

Excuses

What’s your excuse for not taking care of yourself?

Be completely honest and on the first piece of paper, write down the first thought(s) that popped into your head. Write all of them down. I’m sure you have a few favorite excuses that keep you from taking steps toward the self-care you so urgently need, even as you care for others. The top excuses are listed below.

Top Excuses

  1. Time
  2. Money
  3. Selfishness
  4. Hopelessness

Did you relate to any of these? What’s your top one?

Excuses are made to be shredded and then thrown away. Before you do that, though, let’s look at some solutions to write on the second sheet of paper.

Solutions

Time

If you are a caregiver, you may feel overwhelmed much of the time. Still, every time you say “I am so stressed—I have no time,” you cement that perceived reality. You will make time for what you prioritize. Start expressing to others that you are making a conscious effort to make time for yourself. See how that changes your outlook and provides hope.

  • Start small with 15-minute slots of time for self-care.
  • Schedule personal time into your day.
  • Ask for specific help.
  • Make specific plans and put them on the calendar.

Money

This can be a tough reality when faced with medical bills and the expenses of having to cut back your hours to care for someone. Budget your money just like you would your time. The most important items for self-care need to be your own medical check-ups, eating well and exercising daily. These items do not have to be expensive.

  • Explore options for medical care.
  • Find free options to exercise.
  • Shop at a farmers’ market to get fresh produce at a reduced price.
  • Prepare meals the day before.

Selfishness

I have talked to many caregivers who feel guilty for thinking about themselves when the one they are caring for is going through so much. Repeat after me, “Self-care is the most loving approach I can take because it provides me with strength and stamina to care for _______.” You may need to start the day with that statement. What would happen if you got sick?

  • Schedule your annual wellness checkup.
  • Build in time to exercise every day.
  • What I miss most since being a caregiver is ____________________.
  • I would love to _______________.

Hopelessness

One of the serious results of exhaustion and stress as a caregiver is a growing sense of burnout. It can feel like life is passing you by and that the caregiving marathon will never end. Depression can settle in without you even realizing that it is happening.

  • Express your feelings through journaling or art (Anita shares great ideas here.)
  • Seek out a support group
  • Let family and friends help you
  •  Speak to a professional counselor or minister

Action Steps

  1. List your excuses on that first sheet.
  2. On the second sheet, choose one or more solutions for each excuse listed.
  3. Shred the page with excuses on it and put it in the trash.
  4. Put the solutions in your calendar or on your to-do list.
  5. Share your action steps in the comments below
  6. Connect with someone you trust who will hold you accountable.

Prayer

Lord, thank You for wisdom andunderstanding regarding the best ways to take care of myself in this hecticseason of caring for _____________. I confess my stubbornness to balance theexcuses with appropriate solutions. Your wisdom allows me to see that I need tochange. Grant me the courage and follow-through to start today to_______________ (solution(s) to start). Give me understanding of how to live inobedience to Your guidance and strength to gain a new perspective of how youview my current situation. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Click here to receive inspiration, challenges and prayers to move you toward increased self-nurture from The Hope Lady.

Karen’s third book on hope – The Power of Hope for Caregivers: Honor the Ride is now available on Amazon. In honor of November as National Family Caregivers Month you may purchase the Kindle version for only 99 cents byclicking here.

Author, speaker, corporate trainer, ordained minister and Hope Catalyst, Karen Sebastian enjoys sharing her rich life experiences with others – engaging them in adventurous discoveries of the beauty of hope in a dark, cloudy world. Her books will inspire you to embrace hope no matter what you are going through. To increase hope and improve relationships with yourself and those that you love, check out her Facebook page – The Power of Hope.

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