Published in Natural Awakening Magazine – August 2012
Taking care of a family takes a lot of time, work and energy. Many parents will do whatever it takes to make their family happy, even if that means giving up their own needs. While caring for loved ones is a posi- tive and fulfilling experience, carving out much-needed personal time will only enhance the overall feeling of well-being of the caretaker. Learning how to find that balance between self and others, and lose the sense of guilt that sometimes comes with it, is a realistic goal to achieve.
If putting the family’s needs con- sistently before your own causes you to feel overworked, stressed or unbal- anced, it’s time to break the habit. Here are four simple ways to become less reactive and more responsive to?your family while bringing a healthy balance to your own life.
Pause, step back and
evaluate before saying yes
Saying yes whenever asked to help (sometimes even when not asked) can lead to drained energy reserves and an over-committed schedule, taking needed personal time away from you. Take a moment to step back and evaluate the situation objectively. ?Let me check and I?ll get back to you,? is a kind and loving response that gives you time to make the right personal choice. To say yes to our- selves, we must learn to say no to others.
Support, don’t control
Supporting loved ones on their journey means just that?allowing them to find
their own way. Supporting does not require enabling. Having a balanced and healthy personal life provides the energy and inner happiness needed to be a supportive, healthy parent or care- taker. Lead by example.
Develop a ?time for me?
routine every day
A fully charged energy tank can change everything. Waking up each morning feeling excited and recharged, regard- less of the day’s demands makes a huge difference in feeling less overwhelmed, less reactive, and more in control throughout the day.
Try spending 10 to 30 minutes ev- ery day enjoying a favorite activity. It’s best to start with one activity and then repeat it consistently every day, even
if it’s just for five minutes at first. Ideas for ?me time? include nature walks, inspirational reading, sports or exercise, Reiki, meditating or stretching.
Identify the thoughts that cause reaction and change them to thoughts that cause response. Change, ?I can only take care of myself after everybody else’s needs are met,? to ?I find time for myself and
I am calm, energized and present to help others.? Change ?It’s my job as a parent to take care of the family,? to ?I love them enough to let them find their own way.?
Being empowered with a balanced, centered, self-controlled life and still being a supportive and loving parent
is not only possible, it is necessary for helping families and loved ones learn to take care of themselves. Change from controlling to leading, from enabling to inspiring, and make a difference not only in your own life, but in the life of your family, too.