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You can’t pour from an empty cup!

“YOU CAN’T POUR FROM AN EMPTY CUP”

By: Christine Hall  June 11, 2016

It can be easy for parents to spend so much time fretting about their children, that their own needs go unattended to. It is important to recognize that self-care is NOT selfish. Being good at taking care of others, means also being good to ourselves. Parents are children’s number one role models, and they will learn to take better care of themselves, form healthy boundaries with others, and implement better coping strategies if they witness their parents/caregivers doing the same.

 

WHAT CAN YOU AS A PARENT/CAREGIVER DO TO START PRACTICING SELF-CARE?

Take stock of where you are now. It is important to realistically recognize our strengths and weaknesses in relation to taking care of ourselves. To do this, it may help to ask ourselves a series of questions, which may include the following:

 

  • What are my current stress levels? (on a scale of 0-10; 0 being under-stressed, 10 being dangerously stressed)

 

 

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  • What shape am I in physically? (nutrition/fitness/sleep/weight)

 

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  • What shape am I in mentally, emotionally, spiritually?

 

 

 

 

  • What areas do I need to prioritize?

 

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  • What gets in the way of me taking care of myself? (attitudes, lack of supports, time, etc.)

 

 

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KNOW WHAT WORKS FOR YOU.

It is important to consider self-care strategies that address all the dimensions of self-care from our physical, emotional, social and intellectual, to our spiritual needs.

 

  • What helps me relax?

 

 

  • What physical activities can I engage in on a regular basis?

 

 

 

  • What helps my emotional needs?

 

 

 

  • What helps alleviate my stress/worries in a healthy way?

 

 

 

  • What activities do I (or used to) love doing?

 

 

 

  • How can I combine some of these activities with family time, and also find time for “me-time”?

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOME TRIED AND TRUE SELF-CARE STRATEGIES INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:

 

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: Research shows there is a positive relationship between exercise and mood. This needs to be brisk enough to raise your heart rate for at least 20 minutes, 3 times per week. The key is finding the right exercise for you and working it into your routine. This could include “incidental” exercise such as walking or cycling with the family to school or the shops. Dancing while vacuuming or watching TV works too!

RELAXATION: The relaxation response is important in helping to bring our heart rates down and restore a sense of calm. As little as five minutes per day, can reduce stress levels. Not all people need a block of time to be alone to relax effectively. Relaxation can happen in the middle of your daily life. Sit in the car after dropping the children off at school, and listen to your favorite radio station. Practice mindfulness (paying attention to the present moment) while eating your lunch. Allow yourself a cup of tea and five minutes to sit still in the middle of a hectic day. Find what works best for you.

EMOTIONAL / SOCIAL: Parenting is frequently a lesson in patience, and has the ability to raise strong reactions such as anxiety and anger. It is important for parents to recognize and process emotions. Regular intense emotions can cause chronic stress, affecting our overall wellbeing as well as hinder our capacity to think realistically and effectively problem-solve. Since everyone is different, it is important to recognize what your needs are for emotional and social support. Extroverted people tend to benefit from the energy of being around others, while more introverted individuals often seek alone time.

INTELLECTUAL: There is philosophical and psychological belief that humans need to a sense of meaning and purpose in their lives in order to experience happiness. This sense of meaningfulness often (but certainly not always), presents in the form of challenging oneself intellectually. This can happen by reading, engaging in discussions with others that challenge your own worldview and belief systems, learning something new such as carpentry, gardening, sewing, cooking, arts, etc.

SPIRITUAL:  This dimension is about connecting to something greater than oneself, or recognizing that we are all interconnected; spirituality is not necessarily defined as religion alone. For some, they feel a sense of spirituality being in nature, practicing yoga or meditation, engaging in creative pursuits or running.

 

TAKE ACTION

Now that you have assessed your stress levels and considered the dimensions of self-care, you are ready to include some aspects of personal wellness into your schedule. Time for ourselves does not need to take excessive amounts of time or come at someone else’s expense. It just takes a little commitment and planning. Many of the dimensions of wellness can be combined – e.g: A hike with a friend or loved one combines physical, social, and spiritual wellbeing.

 

Trauma Related Beliefs

Trauma Related Beliefs

Check the beliefs that apply to you and then write about a situation in which that belief was created. Try to be specific when describing the situation, are any of these situations trauma related?

_____ I believe I am a victim and that my troubles are someone else’s fault

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

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_____ I believe that I can’t do things because I am physically or emotionally incapable of doing them. (“I can’t” generally means “I won’t or “I don’t want to”)

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

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_____ I believe that my actions don’t impact others. My actions don’t harm them or cause them emotional pain

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

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_____ I believe I am unwilling or unable to put myself in others’ place

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

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_____ I believe I am unwilling to do something that is disagreeable to me

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

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_____ I believe I have no money, time, etc., to spare when other people ask me to do things

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

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_____ I believe that I develop aches and pains in order to avoid doing things that I don’t want to do

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

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_____ I believe I often don’t have enough energy to do things – particularly when I don’t want to do them

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

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_____ I believe that I don’t have to live up to obligations – It’s ok to say “I forgot” or just ignore responsibilities

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

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_____ I believe that I frequently expect others to do what I want them to do, even if they don’t understand my reasoning

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

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_____ I believe I am entitled to use others’ property as if it were my own, and to borrow things without permission

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

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_____ I believe that my “wants” are really my “rights”

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

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_____ I believe that others betray my trust regularly and therefore cannot be trusted at all

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

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_____ I believe that things will happen because I think they will

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

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_____ I believe that I can make decisions without finding out the facts

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

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_____ I believe that I am right and that my point of view is right, even when evidence says that it’s wrong.

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

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_____ I believe that even when I am proven wrong I must cling to my original position

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

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_____ I believe that thinking ahead and planning ahead are unnecessary or not useful

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

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_____ I believe that I am always supposed to win and that failure is not an option

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

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_____ I believe that fear is a weakness, so I deny that I am afraid even when I am

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

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_____ I believe that expressions of anger, like direct threats, intimidation, sarcasm, or passive-aggressiveness, are good ways to get what I want from people

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

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_____ I believe that if something doesn’t turn out the way I expect it to I will be criticized and found to be a failure

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

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_____ I believe that I will be let down by others

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

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_____ I believe that I will win in any struggle because I have power

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

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_____ I believe that debating is enjoyable in and of itself

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

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