The Surprising Way Caregivers Can Reclaim More Time in Their Day!
Guest Post by Karlee Fain
Do any of these sound like you?
- You snapped at a loved one recently.
- When it’s time to go to bed, you are both tired and wired, you’re exhausted but your mind is racing.
- Even though you receive praise for all you do to take care of your family – and maybe even someone with special needs – you always feel behind, like you could be doing better.
- You feel isolated, and like nobody really understands the position you are in, even though you have a network.
- You have perplexing health symptoms that you used to get away with, but are now really bothering you.
If any of these resonate with you, know this – these are not signs that there is something wrong with you.
They are a sign that you are being called to employ another set of resources that will create more time abundance for you so you can stay in the care-taking game without crumbling to the ground.
But how, right? Iff you had the time and resources to be at a spa, you would be right now!
First step – you need to hear this: you were given a special child and set of circumstance. And that requires special care, for them, AND special care for you.
You are being asked to do more than the average person, to see more doctors, have more team or school meetings, stay up later, wake up earlier….gee I’m tired just thinking about it. And that means you are going to need more personal nourishment than the average person too.
You are living a life with more demands than most people who do not have a loved one with special needs. You are living an extraordinary life, that requires extraordinary attention, focus, time, and resources. And that means you will need extraordinary self care. And here’s why:
Having more time is an inside-out kind of job. (Unless you have a time machine and can add more hours to the day…)
When you are burned out, tired, stressed, the sympathetic part of your nervous system (your fight, flight or fright response) kicks in. It limits your vision, literally. In this headspace you don’t see the big picture, and get caught putting out a million small fires each day, rather than being able to see the cause of that fire and put it out at the roots.
You know you are stuck in survival mode when your to-do list isn’t getting any shorter despite all the hard work you put in. So what do you do about it?
Start by remembering you have a body.
Of course you know you have a body. But when you find yourself consistently strapped for time, it’s a sign you are stuck in your head, making decisions with your brain that aren’t realistic (every time I make a to-do list I’m amazed by how much my brain thinks I can do in a day, ha!)
And when you begin to bank on your intelligence as your only resource, your body and sanity are burned into the ground. By leveraging your other resources, like your creativity, your inspired ideas, and even your community, more is done is less time, and you can catch your breath.
So you start by taking 5 minutes to do something that brings you back into your body:
- You stretch
- You go for a walk
- You crank up the Cat Stevens and dance like your life depends on it. It does.
By moving your body in a more pleasurable way, you active the parasympathetic part of your nervous system, the part of you that is in charge of rest and clear thinking, the part of you that is better at problem solving. Then sit down, grab a piece of paper, and draw a line down the middle of it:
On the top of the left hand side write “urgent.” On the top of the right hand side write “important.” And take a moment to list the many things running through your mind in their respective categories. Note:
Important things are only those that bring you joy, meaning and closer to the life you want to live. They are things like having tea with your friend, or picking out a new library book for your special kiddo. They are the things that get pushed to the side because we think they are optional or nice. They are not nice. They are not optional. They are what brings both you and those you care for the best life and the best version of you. This is how you stay in the game for the long haul.
Urgent things, will be most things, like emails, phone calls etc, that feel pressing but don’t actually bring you closer to the life you want.
Then, you do the brave thing. You start with the important side of the list, dedicating a few minutes to at least one thing here before you switch back to putting out fires on the urgent side.
This is how you being to clear busy work off your plate, this is how you reclaim the hours in your day.
Make no mistake about it, most people won’t do this. Because it’s hard to choose yourself. It’s hard to pause in a world that “Runs on Dunkin” and go about things a better way. But it’s harder to be sick, or run down or chronically miserable.
And if anyone has ever had practice taking care of someone, and making choices that where hard but right, it’s you.
Reading about this is nice, trying it get results. Crank the tunes, or get outside, because I wonder: What might you discover is really important, and what else can be cleared off your plate, if you nurtured the time in your day as well as you do the special people in your life? What is possible for you?
Meet the author:
Karlee Fain, Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner, Author, Speaker
After spending years as the go-to health and life coach for celebrities and professional athletes, Karlee focuses on helping “every day rockstars” create a life of prosperity and purpose that is richly steeped in personal nourishment. Connect with Karlee for some help reclaiming your time at EveryBodyThrive.com.
*SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY: Karlee returns to ExtraSpecialTeas, 2 Elm Street, Great Barrington, from 5:30pm-7:00pm on Oct 24th, 2017 to lead a delicious workshop, Time Abundance for Driven Women. The workshop is all about the way women with busy lives – careers and families – can create the space needed to rise and thrive. The last event Karlee and EST hosted together was sold out! Reserve your space on Oct 24th from 5:30pm-7:00pm. Check out the Facebook event here and let us know you’re coming. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.