Some call it the “Delta Principle,” in that taking care of yourself first is in similar fashion to a mother on an airplane that would need to give herself the oxygen mask first, if in flight, something were to go wrong. Taking care of ourselves seems to be taboo since so many care-givers are not taking care of themselves first. Maybe its guilt, or shame or doubt? Who knows.
Here’s the real deal. If you are a care-giver, or even a parent, you must take care of you or who else will? It’s really not rocket science here. If you do not take care of you today, then who will care for those who you take care of tomorrow, should you run yourself down? And you will if not care-ful! Do I need to remind you that your immune system can take so much of dehydration, malnutrition, lack of real rest, too much stress, chaos, depression and/or anxiety and the like?
According to Mayo Clinic, “[n]early 60 percent of caregivers work outside of the home. If you work outside the home and you’re a caregiver, you may begin to feel overwhelmed… If you’re like many caregivers, you have a hard time asking for help. Unfortunately, this attitude can lead to feeling isolated, frustrated and even depressed.” Let’s face it, most everyone has to work outside of the home, being a care-giver, and even if you do not have outside employment, care-giving alone can be overwhelming. Then there is what is referred to as “sandwich care-givers. ” These are those who not only care for aging parents but they care for children- or grandchildren as well, and they are sandwiched in between in caring for themselves. Think about it. How well do you care for yourself?
Did you know that we should try to drink at least 8- 8oz. glasses of water each day? Think 8×8! Not soda. Not tea. Water is cleansing, refreshing and what your body craves most since it is a fact that your cells bathe in fluids. Up to 60% of the human adult body is water. According to H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158, the brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83%water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are watery: 31% . Teas and sodas have ingredients that are not as pure as water is. Likewise, we should eat well. Do you remember the food chart learned in grade school? I suggest care-givers, or anyone, to learn more about healthy eating. There is so much information about diet and activity today. Simply put, we are what we eat! if we eat fats, then we’re investing in cholesterol issues, just as when we take in too much sugar, we’re investing in pancreatic disorders where our body’s insulin is produced, and on it goes.
Balance. Balance is the one word that we need to keep in the fore-front of our minds, especially if we are care-givers, or mothers and fathers, or if we care for others! We need to have a well balanced diet for starters. I prefer the ADA guidelines for maintaining a well balanced meal three times a day.
Start with balancing your diet.
- Using your dinner plate, put a line down the middle of the plate. Then on one side, cut it again so you will have three sections on your plate.
- Fill the largest section with non-starchy vegetables.
- And then in the other small section, put your protein.
- Add a serving of fruit and dairy or both as your meal plan allows.
- Choose healthy fats in small amounts. For cooking, use oils. For salads, some healthy additions are nuts, seeds and vinaigrettes.
- To complete your meal, add water, unsweetened tea or coffee (if you just must have that fix- just don’t overdo, and balance with lots of water unless you are fluid restricted per your physician.)
Then, balance time. God only gives us so much time in a day. Plan ahead and plan wisely. No excuses. Like a warrior mom, tackle time or it will you! Assess how much rest you are actually getting. Your sleep is when your body does so much of its restorative work. Make time for exercise. Mayo Clinic suggests that as “a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. If you want to lose weight, maintain weight loss or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to exercise more. Want to aim even higher? You can achieve more health benefits if you ramp up your exercise to 300 minutes or more a week.” C’mon, you can do this! Think balance- ask for help like you mean it. Please, take care of you, too!