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Nov 19
2013

Caring for others, at it's best!

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During some point in our lives we may have offered a helping hand to a friend who needs to speak with you about their relationship problems, a family member that is experiencing mental health difficulties, someone you know whom has physical injury, disability or illness. If you have been crowned as the caring person with in your social circle, you could be described as a "24 hour carer".

Being a caregiver may provide you with a sense of satisfaction and add meaning to your  life, it can be rewarding taking care of those you love dearly and in return,  you may also feel valued or loved by those you are caring for, arriving at the conclusion that its part of your make up, it's what you do best. Although, caring for others is highly valued and can create emotional resonance, a continuous commitment to others could be compromising your emotional, psychological and physical needs, putting your own health at risk.   

I am also familiar with this script, it is what initially inspired me to become a counsellor many years ago. Enjoying the role of taking care of others increased my eagerness to learn new ways and skills to give to others, but before I could proceed to professional development, I had to face the biggest challenge of my life....learning to explore and take care of my own needs, heal my own wounds (so to speak) without this valuable process taking place, I would not be deemed fit to work on a professional (nor a personal) level. As we can only give to others if we are in a position to do so.

Perhaps, at the initial thought, nurturing ourselves may be a difficult concept to grasp, especially if we have remained in this role for far too long. We may have learnt this behaviour  through parental, cultural or societal beliefs, that caring for others is a signature strength but  through this continuos process the importance of "self" deminishes. Constantly helping others may also distract us from focusing on our own problems and detract from our own happiness.  Learning to put yourself  first might also bring up some level of discomfort, leading to the thought that you are being "selfish",  I would like to rephrase this word as "selfull". Caring for others requires knowledge about caring for oursevles, if we do not know our limitations, needs or  value, it can bring about personal suffering and pain to something you love doing.


If you are experiencing any of the below as a caregiver...

Overwhelmed

Lacking energy

Fatigue or tired

Irritable

Emotional

Unable to cope

Anxious or constantly worrying

Experiencing physical pains



 

 

It may be time for some "self care"


  Talk to someone you trust about how you are feeling 

Join a stress management program or support group

Learn to take time out to recharge your batteries 

Try asking for help, to support your needs or to delegate the care 

Explore new ways to relax each day 

Let go of any quilt you may be carrying  

Speak with you G.P about any health concerns

  And, most importantly, give yourself permission to experience the above



                      Author, Hulya Kusella, Integrative counsellor, founder of Healthier Dimensions


Support links:  If you are caring for an elderly, or for someone with mental health problems or physical disability:


 

 

 

 

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