Okay, we realize this is a bit of an absolutist statement. Hear us out. Consider someone that is extremely overweight. One could conclude they are overweight because they struggle with saying no to tasty temptations. We might find if we dig a bit deeper into their life that they also spend a ton of time helping others on projects that do not have any significance to their life purpose, but they have a hard time saying no.
So what does this have to do with caregiving? Well, a lot really. Specially, with caregiving and how family caregivers take care of themselves during caregiving.
When Was the Last Time You Ate?
Do you remember if you ate lunch today? Do you remember what you ate for lunch? Chances are for some of you, you have no idea what you ate last or when. Besides the obvious fact that it isn’t good for us not to eat regularly since we need good fuel to do our important work – there are other things to consider.
If you forget to eat, a basic need for life sustainment, do you ever forget to make lunch for your caree? Or perhaps to give them their afternoon medications? Or maybe you don’t because you have their information and appointments in a calendar visible to everyone – but you don’t have your appointments visible. If you had your lunch and your lunch menu on your own visible to everyone calendar, who you have a better chance of succeeding at eating something?
How Does This Help Me?
Of course it seems like this is one more of those areas where we give advice on what you are doing wrong. Nope. Not all all. The good news is that this theory applies for both positive and negative behaviors. Consider the above example. One of the things that person did that worked well was ensured the caree ate and took their medications on a schedule because it was public and visible and on a schedule. Applying this same successful tactic to their own needs can help them be more successful as well. Thus, how you do one thing is how you do (nearly) everything.
Here is another example. Do you find that your caree’s hair is often no kept up to a standard you find acceptable? Perhaps they don’t live with you but with another sibling or in a care facility. You don’t understand how they can’t simply brush your caree’s hair every day. Everyone brushes their hair ever day, right? Your hair is brushed each morning during your morning routine. Isn’t everyones? Well, you visit your sister’s house on a weekend day, when she doesn’t have to go into the office, at about 1pm and her hair is a mess and so if your mom’s hair. Hum? Maybe your sister’s morning routine is centered around getting ready for work but she doesn’t think to brush her hair on the weekends – non-work days. So, she doesn’t think to brush your mom’s hair either.
A Different Perspective
Maybe now that you have this perspective of “how you do one thing” you can consider areas that are going well in your life and apply some of those techniques or rituals to other areas that need improvement. Or, maybe if you feel that your caree isn’t getting some type of care or service that seems like a no brainer to you, you can consider if it isn’t something that the other caregivers does for themselves and they had no ill intent.
When was the last time your brushed your hair?
So when was the last time you ate or brushed your hair? Okay, not really. But did this theory give you a new perspective? How might you apply this to your own caregiving experience? Let us know what you think in the comments below.