Care For The Caregiver

restI settled in for a long plane ride from Canada to Europe to attend my brother’s wedding. The flight attendant instructed us on seat belt use, emergency exits, and oxygen masks. She reminded us that it was important to take care of our own needs first, before helping the person next to us – whether a small child, elderly parent, or someone struggling with their mask. The explanation was simple. We are no good to anyone else if we don’t take care of our needs first…if we pass out before we get our own mask on, we won’t be able to help the person next to us.

This philosophy can be applied to all areas of our life. Unfortunately, many of us do not heed this simple logic. We tend to put the needs of others over and above our own. We care for children first, then our spouse or significant other takes priority, followed by work obligations and maybe even volunteer work, and we inevitably put our own needs last. We think that at the end of the day, if we are not already exhausted, we may then spend some time on ourselves.

However, it’s important to fuel the body, mind and spirit on a daily basis through proper eating, relaxation techniques, prayer, and exercise.

We need to fuel our bodies with adequate foods and not skip a meal because “we don’t have time.” Food gives us energy. It should not make us late for our next appointment.

Also, realize that pampering ourselves with a warm bath, practicing stretches or taking time to read a chapter from a favorite book should not send us spiraling into the depths of guilt. Life is too short not to enjoy everyday.

Prayer, when combined with quiet time, can decrease respiratory rate, heart rate, elevated blood pressure and muscle tension. During prayer, the body escapes from the stresses of everyday life and enters into a relaxed state.

Finally, keep in mind that energy begets energy. So if we’re feeling tired and rundown, that’s the time that we really need to focus on increasing our exercise. A brisk walk or strength-training program can give us the boost we need to motor through the day. Remember, when we feel nourished and energized, we are better able to deal with all the demands in life. Taking time for you is not selfish; it’s necessary!

Blessings on the road to health!

Kimberley PayneKimberley Payne, a former Personal Trainer who lives in Ontario, combines Christian commitment with ten years experience in the health and wellness arena. Visit her Website and you can connect on Twitter @fitforfaith.

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