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You’re A Giver. But Do You Receive?

When I was an intern at a counseling center in the San Fernando Valley, I was astonished and amazed by how much of my fellow co-workers’ lives were spent helping to make a difference.

 

They saw at least 20-30 clients a week, they had families, sick parents, and troubled children, and we all made very little money.

 

How they dealt with the stress was a mystery  to me. I didn’t have kids and didn’t work as many hours as they did. They gave and gave beyond my own capacity and I often wondered . . . Who takes care of them at night after a long day of dealing with clients? When they come home is there someone there for them?

 

I came to know these generous and beautiful people intimately. And I was also concerned about them.

 

When I expressed this to my supervisor, she asked me if I would be interested in teaching a self-care seminar to the often depleted and stretched co-workers.

 

I jumped to the invitation.

 

Together, we created a self-care plan on the mental, emotional, spiritual and physical levels. And I invite you to focus on these four levels of being as well.

 

For the next month, what if you decided what you want to do for yourself on each level daily or weekly? Keep it simple and doable so that you can build on it.

 

For example:

 

Mental Level: Write  stream-of-consciousness style in your journal for 10 minutes every morning.

 

Emotional Level: Commit to allowing your feelings to rise when you feel them rather than suppressing them.

 

Spiritual Level: Start meditating 10 minutes a day at sunset.

 

Physical Level: Take a walk 3x a week or try a new yoga class. Or, decide for this month you won’t eat sugar.

 

Customize a self-care plan that works for you that is gentle and loving, simple and kind. The more you strengthen your own reserves the more you will have to give.

 

Just like on the airplane when we are told to put on our own oxygen masks  first, we need to make our self-care a priority—especially when we’re caregivers. We also become better at receiving when we come to care and love ourselves better.

 

You’re worth it. And more than deserving.

 

Wishing you health on all levels!

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Lynn Newman