[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]While caregiving can often feel like a “full-contact sport,” let me first state that I’m talking about PRINCIPLES of martial arts not actually doing martial arts on your loved one! (Just want to make sure we’re all singing from the same hymnal!)
Studying martial arts continues to be a great outlet and growth opportunity for me. Last year, I earned a black-belt in HapKido, and am currently training for my second degree. Not only have I developed a proficiency in self-defense, but there are four specific principles I’ve learned that help me as a caregiver.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
- Breathe When we hold our breath, we end up gasping for air and robbing ourselves of much needed energy. One of the things we do is breathe in four seconds and exhale eight— it is immediately calming and significantly helps me deal with stress. We caregivers often ignore the advice of airline attendants who tell us to put our mask on first. I call that the DELTA DOCTRINE. But we simply cannot hold our breath long enough to help a vulnerable loved one, and we’re not much good to anyone if we are passed out!
- Relax Don’t strain. The purpose of learning the various techniques we do in HapKido is to let the technique do the work …not me. If I’m straining, I’m not doing it right. That statement alone is applicable to virtually every caregiver scenario I face. We caregivers do this for the long haul and we simply can’t “muscle” or “white-knuckle” ourselves through the journey.
- Wait Let the fight come to you. Don’t anticipate or fret what you’re going to do, wait until it comes and then respond appropriately. There’s enough drama right in front of us as caregivers, and we don’t need to worry about what’s way off.
- Prioritize At our monthly black-belt meeting for our martial art, the instructor recently said something that really resonated for me as a caregiver: “Fight what’s closest.”In my three decades of caregiving, I’ve caused myself (and others) more challenges by trying to take on adversity that is simply too far away.Keeping with the martial arts metaphor, I have to deal with what’s in with arm’s (or leg’s) reach. Tomorrow will reveal its own problems, but what’s important to me is to do the best I can with the problems nearest to me today.“Fight what’s closest!”
Caregiving is kind of a like a full-contact sport, and thirty years of this has taught me the importance of conditioning and pacing myself.
Martial arts tips for caregivers that could very well save lives in unanticipated way.
Peter Rosenberger is the founder of Caregivers with Hope, and for the past 30 years, he has personally travelled the path of a family caregiver. He’s the author of “Hope for the Caregiver,” and hosts a weekly radio show for caregivers on I Heart Media’s 1510 WLAC (Nashville, TN). www.caregiverswithhope.com [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]
HOPE FOR THE CAREGIVER
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