As many of you know, at the end of March, we had our seminar “The Eleven Principles of Transformation” and one of the issues we explored (principle VI) was the value of taking care of oneself.

Many people think that paying attention to our needs is being egotistic, and forget about what they really want. They settle to live a life based on the needs of others. We need to pay attention to this attitude, because, it may leave us resentful, frustrated or angry. Each person has special needs, including you. Therefore...start paying attention to YOU! Only then will you be able to give the best of you to others.

I was recently interviewed for a TV documentary on caregivers. In that particular case, the program was on Caregiving at the End of Life, but the principles can be applied to any care-giving situation. The main message has to do with paying attention to our physical, touching and spiritual needs, even if this means asking for help. Why do I stress this issue so much? Being a caregiver myself, I know how necessary it is to have our "me time" in order to recharge and be filled up with beautiful energy. We do not need much time, but it is essential in order to give the best of ourselves.
The following suggestions can help you to find balance between your role as a caregiver and the other aspects of your life:

First, prioritize. What are the most important issues in your life at this moment?
Now, how do you manage your time? Is it too overwhelming? If this is the case, ask for help. Talk to other members of the family or close relatives so you can plan some time for your own necessities.

Now, let's talk about your physical needs:
Eat a balanced and nutritious diet and do some kind of exercise. This will give you a sense of well being and it also helps as stress relief.

When possible, get enough sleep. I know that as a caregiver, sometimes it can be challenging, but pay attention to this need, even if this implies asking for respite.

Your emotional needs are also important and are sometimes ignored because we do not want to confront pain or grief. We chose to continue living, repressing our emotions. As we learned in the seminar, this aspect is essential if we want to grow and develop as individuals. Because, I remind you that what we ignore doesn't cease to exist, it is only repressed. Share with others how you feel. Write on a journal, or record your feelings in a voice recorder. There are also support groups that may be a source of help, but please be careful these support groups do not focus on complaining....but on transforming.

I invite you to take a piece of paper and write on top:
What are my needs?
Then, examine each one of them and see if you are paying attention to them.
Now, reflect on how you feel, as you realize some of these needs are being ignored.
Then, plan what to do about it.

Lastly, be aware of your spirituality. Meditate, pray, and/or read inspiring books. Engage in activities that can encourage your soul. And above all....embrace Forgiveness, Gratitude, and Love. These are the three spiritual tools I have explored in principle III of "The Eleven Principles of Transformation" because I believe that if we do more of these three things....any difficult situation can be transformed into an experience of personal and spiritual growth.

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