The last post, 4 Pillars of Self-care, talked about the four areas that you could consider in maintaining your self-care during caregiving. One of the main things to consider both in your caregiving duties as well as your self-care rituals is the idea of ‘small hinges swing big doors.’
What Does That Mean?
What does “small hinges swing big doors” mean? Well, when you are trying to lose weight, do you lose all 50 of the pounds you gained in one day? How about one week? How about one month? No. You don’t. Why? Well, it took a long time to gain that 50 pounds, didn’t it?
So, how do you lose the weight? Well right now the trending blog posts would tell you to go on a Keto Diet or maybe HIIT Yoga. But even if you did go on a Keto Diet and did HITT Yoga, you still will not lose all the weight in one day or one week. You have to put forth consistent effort toward your weight loss goal.
Sometimes we fall into a trap when we have a lot of weight to lose or a large project to complete, we try to do it all at once. We dive in head first and we try to work out two hours a day and eat nothing but broccoli. Most of the time we can sustain that for only a short time and then we burn out.
However, if you instead walked for 15 minutes a day and ate a more sensible diet every day for a year, you would take off some weight and you wouldn’t burn out. That is what “small hinges swing big doors” mean.
How Can I Find the Hinge?
You find the Big Door first. While we are caregiving we often forget about self-care (see self-care post) or we do it in large chunks – those large chunks are the big doors. Consider thinking differently about your large tasks, both self-care tasks as well as caregiving tasks. If you need to keep your Mom’s house clean but you can only get there once a week when you do a four or five hour cleaning spree – how can you break it down into smaller chunks that can be done daily?
Can your brother Bob stop in every Monday and put dishes in the dishwasher and a load of laundry in the washer? Can you Aunt Mary come on Tuesday and put away the dishes and switch the laundry, while loading up another one? Perhaps you can find a way to have a daily visitor doing a very small task that they wouldn’t even be annoyed by that could help you get to the end of the week and not have to do a four or five hour cleaning. Maybe then you could just spend some time chatting with your Mom. How do that sound?
Small Hinges Swing Big Doors (SHBD) in Self-Care
While finding the large caregiving tasks, like cleaning Mom’s house, are a great way to use the SHBD theory, there is an even bigger door when you apply the theory to taking care of yourself. If you are feeling a lot of stress, that is a big door. Perhaps consider spending five minutes a day meditating or doing yoga or reading a book. Find the one big door that you really want to tackle and then look for a single tasks that you can do in 5 to 15 minute increments every day – and you will not recognize yourself in a year from now.
Did you find this helpful? How could you use the SHBD theory in your caregiving? In your self-care? Let us know what you think in the comments below.