& Why you need to know a whole bunch of information about her!
Before you can think about serving your loved one in the best way possible – you know, the one who relies on you to take care of most, if not all of their basic needs – you need to define clearly and understand your needs first – then your caregivee!
In fact, I am such a proponent of self-care first, I won’t even give the time of day to caregivers who put themselves second, third or especially last! Why should I, they don’t! (hahahaha – just kidding)
The other aspect of caregiving I absolutely insist is treating your loved ones as clients!
It may sound silly to some, obvious to others, however, it is important to every aspect of building and maintaining your own sanity, strength, good will and especially calm. By that I mean it’s a business transaction first, heart second!
Let me put it another way – when I stopped saving my mom and stopped treating her like a burden, everything changed!
I applied business disciplines to caregiving and consciously and deliberately created a more loving home environment (in her own room at the villa) by communicating and coordinating with the professional, attentive and compassionate staff for my elderly mother.
I used her financial resources, government–funded pensions and health-care support. (not mine!!!)
And I always added endless love for my special customer, my momma!
Although it sounds counter-intuitive, you don’t want to save them from themselves, their inadequacies nor buy into their victim stories. You want to serve them as best you can and sometimes that may appear to be selfish.
You see, once I learned (after a decade of crying and worrying and spending way too much of my money) to focus on her capabilities rather than limitations, I enabled her to function as well as she could.
My stress level was lower, and I had more free time.
This shift alone will mean you don’t spread yourself too thinly.
A more efficient use of your time will be to focus on their specific needs they can’t possibly do without help, but you gain such perspective about what they can and cannot handle for themselves.
So how do you identify your needs and this perfect customer’s needs?
First, You Need to Take Care of Yourself In Order to Offer The Best Care to Others!
Ever hear the commandment to love your neighbour as yourself? Can you see that if you don’t first love yourself, you can’t fully love another? It’s the old saying “you can’t give away what you don’t have”.
Your life is filled as it is, and now you add the extra caregiving responsibilities. Hmmmm, your life could be very stressful.
You often have to cope with behaviours that result from diseased minds.
You sometimes get the brunt of a frustrated family member’s feelings.
You face grief at the loss of someone you love and care for.
On top of your own work schedules, you most likely have some home stresses.
You give and give and give. Not many jobs are this demanding so you must have been specially chosen to do this kind of work.
You don’t seem to get the validation and appreciation you think you deserve!
However, no one can continually give without replenishing. Those who try to eventually have their wells run dry.
The solution is to care for yourself – physically, emotionally and spiritually to be in the best state to care for others. Here are some common sense self-care strategies:
spend time with people you love;
carve out time to be alone.
Taking care of yourself is the best gift you give to others!
What else could you do to take care of yourself first?
Pause between taking on a new task and take a moment to savour the present moment. Be aware of your surroundings, “smell the roses,” take a few deep breaths, and notice how your body feels;
Pause to notice how your mind feels when it is in the doing mode. Is there tension, pressure, and intensity? Do not try to get rid of these feelings, just get to know them, accept them, and let them be. With time, you will be able to step out of this mental state more often;
Try setting a random timer to remind you to become aware of this mental state;
Have a short meditation. This can include taking 3 minutes out of your day to do some deep breathing and focus on your body senses;
Ask for support; if it is rejected, don’t take it personally;
Make love, play music, and don’t take things too seriously;
Clarify your priorities – Who you want to be and what you want to do and…
Integrate ways of being into your day-to-day activities.
Think of the process, not just the outcomes.
Think of things like “initiating,” “participating,” “serving”, “nurturing.”
Stop thinking of things like “she doesn’t appreciate what I do!”, “I’ll never get everything done!” or the common “gotta save her!”
In this way, you take control of the only thing you can – your mind chatter and still be able to schedule what you will be doing, but only in a context of a way of being!
Then… and only then, schedule your customer’s needs!
Ask yourself questions such as:
What problems does this customer have that I can help with?
What are their priorities?
What information should I be getting from them?
Is there a gap in the lifestyle they absolutely want and need that I could fill?
This should help you structure your schedule, their schedule, your services approach and your own self-care.
Then you will be much more focused and appealing to your most valuable customer – momma or whomever you take special care of.
It’s packed full of useful tips and advice on how to self-care, stay focused, use your energy to capacity, and so much more.
Because, the truth is, you are the most powerful person on earth as long as you keep your focus on self-care and don’t give your power away!
And please comment below!