As I continue to navigate through a loved ones serious illness, I am reminded of the importance of my own health and of SELF CARE, so that I am able to remain in wellness. It is up to me to live up to my own responsibilities including work, and being present and whole for my four children, my granddaughter, and friends, while still coordinating care, and supporting my mother in her recovery.
Yesterday was particularly challenging as I was called upon from early morning, and throughout the day, to provide care that my mother, herself, is completely able to accomplish. As my sister and I fell back to allow mom to discover her own independence, we were all frustrated, (stomach in knots all day) always remaining in an empathetic mindset, yet preserving our own wellness at the same time. I disconnected after work (once I spoke to mother’s care nurse and was satisfied that she was doing well), to practice much needed self care, to take advantage of some quiet time, to cook a healthy meal, and to go to bed early. I had begun to feel very unwell midday from the stress, and of wanting to do for my mother (what I was told weeks ago she could do for herself) to make it easier for her, and truthfully, for my sister and I…but long term, I knew that would not be helpful or productive for any of us, and actually would take away from mother’s power over her life and recovery. Being strong in our decision, and supportive in guiding mother was what we chose as the best solution for all of us.
One thing that stuck with me in my own recovery from lifelong Substance Use Disorder (now in a thriving recovery for 6 1/2 years) is “Never do for someone else what they can do for themselves.” So often over the years, I wanted others to do for me because it would have taken some of the burden off of me and things would have been easier…the easy way out…However, as I was learning to live independently for the first time in my life at 55 years old, my decisions were self made, based upon what I felt was best for me, and in conjunction with loving guidance given by those I trust and love.
Yesterday, I received much support from my therapist/colleague, sister, other family members, and a colleague/friend at work who encouraged me to allow my mother to find her way as she has to take the reigns now in her own recovery. Of course, I continue to keep in touch with mother’s doctors daily so that if I AM NEEDED for something that mother cannot do for herself, my sister and I are aware of it as it is happening and we jump right in, with love and guidance. After hours of back and forth, my mother finally, of her own accord, realizing she truly is in charge of her own health, took her very first step in being responsible and proactive in her health and wellness. The first step is always the most difficult. After that, one looks forward to moving, growing, learning, body, mind, and spirit, and actually begins to take pride in ones recovery…a recovery that is tailor made by ourselves, for ourselves. It is, after all, our life, so the way we choose to recover reflects the life we are planning for as we heal.
We are all in charge of our own lives, and we are all in need of loving guidance and support…and we all must, in every situation, and in all of the challenges that we are faced with, practice self care first before we are ever able to help another. It is the oxygen mask analogy. On an airplane if we need to use our oxygen mask, we place ours on first…otherwise, we are unable to help anyone else…family, friend, or fellow passengers on “the journey.”
Self care are the tools/actions that we take to achieve wellness, and wellness is where we stand in our power. When we take care of ourselves and are feeling well, feeling positive, feeling productive, feeling that we are in charge of our lives and of all of our decisions, we can do anything we want to, and everything is possible.
“Never do for someone else what they can do for themselves.” It really does take away their power.
Guide, love, support, encourage, reassure, and allow others to make mistakes and to take risks…this is how we become self confident, and successful.
Love and blessings,