Sunday, July 15, 2012

Taking Care of the Caretaker

Have you ever had one of those days where you snap at everybody?  Nothing seems to go right...  The dog pees on the living room floor, the cat throws up a hairball, the kids are fighting, the hubbs is in a bear of a mood, and you are exhausted.  Sound familiar? 

If you are like me, most days are somewhat like this to an extent.  There is always something to clean up, always an argument to settle, and a meal to be cooked.  Most days I love it, it's what I do, it's what we all do.  But sometimes, some days, I feel like I'm just going to go nuts!  Do you ever feel like that?  Well I can't speak for you but I know when I get like that, it usually means I've been neglecting to care for the caretaker.

We need to remember to be kind to ourselves.  How can we care for everyone else if we aren't caring for ourselves?  It's important to take some time for yourself every single day.  Some days, this isn't practical and you just can't do it.  It seems like those are the extremely stressful days.  How do I keep from boiling over on days like this?  I take care of me.

I usually don't notice that I'm having one of those days until one of two things happens: #1 - I nearly bite some one's head off, #2 - I actually bite some one's head off.  Neither of those things are good!  Some days I can catch it before then but sometimes not... 

Let's say it's been building up to be a whopper of a stressful day.  Just like in the first paragraph, things are piling up all at once...  Your family is tugging you in 10 different directions, all at the same time.  You feel like you're about three seconds from either yelling at someone or locking yourself in the bathroom.  Here comes the straw to break the Mom's back, the youngest just spilled his entire glass of chocolate milk...  On the carpet...  And he wants a refill. 

This is where I would have to stop, take a breath, and walk away.  In this situation I like to go sit outside by myself on the back porch for a few minutes, listen to the birds sing, get some fresh air, and just try to clear my head.  I would almost call it meditation.  I find that when I'm about to break, if I do this it helps me recharge.  While I'm sitting there I think of all the things that make me happy and all of the many blessings in my life.  After I've had a few minutes to calm down, I'm able to go back inside and face the spilled milk without crying over it.  I don't feel like I need to scream anymore and all is well. 

Sometimes though, I don't catch it in time and I do end up snapping at one of my beautiful babies or my hubbs.  If that happens I walk away and do my "calming down", then I go back in and try my best to apologize.  I think it's always easier to say you are sorry after you've had a chance to think things through and process what you are feeling.  You would be surprised how far an, "I'm sorry, I'm having a stressful day and I took it out on you.  I shouldn't have done that and I will try my best not to do it again." will go...  I know I always appreciate an apology after someone has snapped at me! 

No matter how zen you are, there will be stressful days.  But you can keep them to a minimum if you remember to take care of you.  Exercising is a great way to reduce stress and it's good for you!  Go for a walk (or run) outside, play with your kids in the back yard, go swimming, do a Jane Fonda video.  There are a thousand (fun) ways to get your blood pumping and shed some pounds while you are at it.  Get your hubbs to tuck in the kiddos once a week and while he's doing that, take a long hot bubble bath.  Do you know what I find relaxing?  Grocery shopping without the kids! 

There are a lot of things you can do to relax, find what works for you.  Everyone is going to have different ideas of what is relaxing but I can promise you one thing, if you take pamper yourself every now and then, you will be a better caretaker to your family.  The short of things?  Every day find a few minutes in a quiet place to breathe deep and think of all the things that make you happy.  If you get stressed to your breaking point, walk away.  At least once a week take an hour to do something just for you!

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