Saturday, January 15, 2011

The "Time for Ourselves" Plan

I don't have the time!
I say this on a regular basis. I don't have time for a mini-vacation. I just can't get away for a few hours. Take time for me? Impossible. I sure could use a few more hours in the day.

And what would you do with those few more hours? Fill them up with tasks and activities for someone else, but not for you?

This week, I received an e-mail from Shelly Webb, the founder of The Intentional Caregiver. She's a nurse and caregiver, and she noted in her message that caregivers with whom she interacts insist that they don't have time for themselves.

Well, here's a news flash. We only get so many hours in the day. That's not going to change. Another news flash, we caregivers make CHOICES on how we'll spend our time, and--drum roll, please--we CHOOSE to put everyone else's priorities before our own well-being and health. We ALLOW requests and demands around us--from job, church, family, friends, the community--to become all important and discount our own needs. We CREATE false importance by judging everything as necessary RIGHT NOW.

Do you feel the pull of RIGHT NOW?

Part of carving out some time for yourself begins with looking critically at your situation. Does everyone you're serving (spouse, kids, parents, family and you) have what they need for survival? Food, clothing, a safe place to live, medical care? If yes, then take a breath. RIGHT NOW is under control. The rest of the giving on your list is gravy, a blessing, icing on the cake. In that "gravy time" is time for you.

Let's you and I together get that time for ourselves. There are only five steps involved:
1) Choose what you want to do for yourself.
2) Prepare for this activity.
3) Plan to insert this activity into your week.
4) Arrange for your dependents'(children, elders') care.
5) Do the activity.

Over the next four weeks, you and I are going to do one step at a time and at the end of four weeks we will be ready with time for ourselves. You may need to move faster or slower, but follow the steps in this order and you'll have a fun, relaxing activity ready to go.

So first, this week, choose what you want to do for yourself.

Don't skimp. Make this choice something that pulls at your spirit, brings you to life, peels the stress away, really lifts you up. Think of something that you will want to do at least once a week for at least 30 minutes. Maybe it's quiet time, going to a movie, a long bubble bath, shooting hoops, taking up painting, building a bird house, playing with your kids, date night with your spouse. It's got to be something that gives you a wonderful feeling and de-stresses you or you won't feel compelled to put it in your routine.

For now, I'm not asking you to consider anything about where the time is going to come from. I am asking you to consider what brings you true pleasure in life and choose at least one activity based on that.

I've already got some things in mind. Do you? I'll share what I've decided next week.

Blessings on your caregiving!

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