It’s another new year and our social feeds are filled with all of the restart, refresh, reboot your life goal posts. There are challenges, bootcamps, workbooks, journals, and so many fun ways to get those resolutions started as we begin the year with all the hope and possibilities of everything being new.

 

But, it’s not new.

Nothing really changed on January 1. The same struggles and challenges followed us into the new year, as much as we may have wanted to leave them behind.

And our responsibilities as caregivers, wives, and mothers, they are still here too. And they are always changing and evolving. 

 

And yet, we stay stuck.

How can we set goals when we can’t set our own schedules? How can we create a routine when our lives are anything but routine? 

 

Sure, we get excited about the newness of every year, just like everyone else. We are going to be different, to do things differently. We are going to take better care of ourselves, join the gym, download the app, start fresh!

 

And we do it. We begin to feel a sense of ourselves. “I’m doing it! I am DOING IT!” we say.  

 

But then we start feeling that guilt. You know, that voice inside that says, “you sure are taking a lot of time for yourself lately.” 

 

You begin to wonder…should I be doing this right now? I could be doing the laundry, the dishes, organizing the medicines or providing personal care for my mom. I could be on the phone with the doctors…or spending time with her so she is not so alone…I could be spending time with my husband, my friends, my kids.” 

 

You slowly begin to be more and more unsure.  And so you double down on that to-do list…doing more to “make up” for your “you time.” 

 

And then you find yourself in mid-February exhausted and feeling the double guilt…of spending too much time on yourself and not spending enough time taking care of yourself. 

 

You are in a guilt cycle. And the routine that was so exciting at the beginning of the year just becomes a reminder of what you don’t have the time or energy to do. So it doesn’t stick…and you stay stuck.

 

“What is wrong with me?” you ask yourself. Why can’t I get more exercise, eat “better”, take better care of myself and my family?

 

You wonder if there is a way out of that stuck place. But you don’t know where to start.

 

Here is the good news. You are not alone! 

 

I’ve been right there…in the excitement of the new year and the disappointment of the failed resolutions. 

 

I’ve felt the guilt of knowing that every “Yes!” for myself meant a “No” to someone else. 

 

I felt selfish. Defeated and hopeless.

 

But I also felt determined. 

 

You know, sometimes when you come to the place where you have nothing to lose because you’re already so far down, you look UP!

 

And that is exactly what I did. After years of the guilt, the overwhelm, and the running myself into the ground, I came to the end of one year and said… “I can’t live another year like this.” 

 

I knew something needed to change and, since I also knew that I couldn’t change my circumstances or control other people, I decided that “something” was me.

 

I knew that just searching for a “life-changing program” wasn’t going to work for me because of my unique circumstances.

 

I am a caregiver for an extremely ill family member.

I have my own healing journey through eating disorders and trauma.

I am a busy mom with a husband who often travels for work.

 

So I created my own “program” from scratch. Of course, it wasn’t a program when it began. It was just “steps I took to reclaim my time, my health, and my mental wellbeing.” But those steps, taken through trial and error and over years of time are what changed my life or, I should say, gave it back to me.

 

These steps became the framework I share with fellow caregivers who have been where I was, who are tired of the guilt, exhausted by the never-ending to-do list, and are overwhelmed by the expectations and needs of everyone else. They are ready for something to change and they know it starts with them.

 

Is that you, friend? If so, I’d love to share the steps I took to get back to the life I was missing.

 

I call it the C.A.R.E Framework and the steps are simple:

 

  • Get CLARITY on your CAPACITY for caregiving so that you can stop comparing yourself to others.
  • Learn to ADVOCATE for yourself, setting boundaries so that you can reclaim your time.
  • Develop Resilience by practicing grace-centered goal-setting so that you can make progress even when everything around you is falling apart.
  • And finally…experience ENJOYMENT in your self-care practices so that you can finally feel GOOD, not GUILTY.

 

Those are the steps I took to make real changes in my life. Now these steps didn’t fit into a 30-day challenge or a 5-day bootcamp, but they did fit into my busy life. THAT is how to get unstuck and create a self-care practice that sticks.  I resolved to make changes and used these steps to do that, and you can too! 

 

“Ready to break free from the guilt cycle and create a self-care routine that fits your life? Join ‘The Self-Caregiver Community’ todayl Meet other caregivers seeking to get clarity, practice self-advocacy, build resilience, and ENJOY self-care!  Say goodbye to feeling stuck and hello to a life where self-care isn’t a luxury but a necessity.

Join our email list and Facebook group now to take the first step towards reclaiming your time, health, and mental well-being! Click here to join ‘The Self-Caregiver Community‘.

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