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A Restivity Plan for the Stressed Out, Self-Employed Caregiver

When you are self-employed and a caregiver, things get complicated. It’s hard enough to manage and run your own business. It’s also hard enough being a caregiver. Combine the two and most days, you have a tricky balancing act to juggle. 

We all know we need to take time to rest, but too often we resist or push it off “until later” because we don’t have the right idea of rest and what it means to rest. 

Resting does not always mean lounging on the couch or getting more sleep. It can! And sometimes should, but we need to look beyond lounging and sleeping and incorporate different ways of resting.

If you think about it, sleep really is just the tip of the “restful iceberg” of what an effective self-care, or what I call restivity, plan needs to include.

First, let’s define Restivity

Restivity simply means “restful activities”. You need nothing fancy in your plan. Your restivity plan can simply be a list of activities you can do in 5-15 minutes to reset and recharge.

Next What types of restful activities do you need? 

I’ve been studying rest for years and have realized there are about five different areas of our lives where we all need to find rest. Here is a list of the five areas: 

  • Body
  • Mind & Emotions
  • Heart & Creativity
  • Relationships
  • Work

Let’s look at each area and get an idea of what a restivity plan might look like under each for the stressed-out and self-employed caregiver. Under each area, I’ve listed a set of questions you can start asking to evaluate your current Restivity (or self-care) Plan.

Area 1-Restivity for Your Body:

  • Are you eating healthy, life-giving foods or giving in to junk food cravings too often? (Copious amounts of chocolate is a perfectly acceptable coping mechanism… right??)
  • Are you keeping well hydrated throughout the day?
  • Are you exercising 30 minutes a day at least 3-4 times a week?
  • Are you getting enough sleep?

Area 2-Restivity or Your Mind & Emotions:

  • Are you taking brain breaks during the day? (Some of my favorite brain breaks are reading a magazine, taking my dogs outside to sit for a few minutes to get some fresh air, or simply getting up and stretching and doing some breathing exercises)
  • Are you taking mini-retreats or weekend retreats regularly?
  • Do you have a confidant or a sympathetic ear for when you need to talk? Will they also give you that kick-in-the-pants we all need from time to time?
  • Do you keep a daily gratitude journal to help you remember the good things in your life?

Area 3-Restivity for Your Heart & Creativity:

  • Are you pursuing activities you enjoy outside of caregiving?
  • Are you setting aside time for hobbies like crafting, writing, hiking, woodworking, or cooking?
  • Are you journaling to express your thoughts and feelings? (My friend Patti Fagan recently wrote an excellent post about stress and journaling here)
  • Are you spending time in prayer and reading your Bible?
  • Do you memorize scripture to help you on the tough days and celebrate on the good days?

Area 4-Restivity for Your Relationships:

  • Are you asking for help? Asking for help can be hard, but the reality is you cannot do this alone. It takes the support and care of others to help you through these intense seasons of life.
  • Are you stepping away, even for a few minutes, from the person you are caring for?
  • Can you find different ways to interact with the person you are caring for? Puzzles, books, music, card games, or….?

Area 5-Restivity for Your Work

  • Are you setting boundaries for your work hours? Again hard, but very important no matter if you work from a home office or outside the home.
  • Do you have a shutdown routine where work stops and caregiving begins?
  • Do you have time in your schedule to just think, dream, and plan your work? Get those creative juices flowing, organize your projects, or set new goals. These can give you something to look forward to and enjoy outside of your caregiving.
  • Have you thought about what you can realistically take on and shared that with your clients? This is an area I’m working on right now for myself.

As you read through each area list, what did you think? Were you able to say yes to any of these questions and ideas?

Keep in mind that some of these will apply to you and your situation and some will not. This list will hopefully help you evaluate your current resistivity plan and help you find ways better ways for you to be an effective and loving caregiver while taking care of yourself too.

Your Turn! It’s Time To Make Your Own Restivity Idea List

  • List #1–Daily Take-A-Break Ideas (5-30 Minutes)
  • Ideas from this list are activities you add to your calendar at least once each day.
  • List #2–Weekly or Monthly Ideas (30 minutes to 2-3 hours)
  • This list will probably include ways to get out of the house, take a walk, go run some errands, or visit friends. We all need a change of scenery from time to time.
  • List #3–Quarterly Ideas (1-3 days)
  • The ideas and routines on this list will take more of a commitment from you to actually implement them and probably support from others to make it happen. But it is important to consider adding these types of self-care to your schedule for your own health and well-being.

I would love to hear from you about what ways you incorporate self-care into your role as a business owner and caregiver. Do you have a favorite self-care routine OR your biggest struggle with adding self-care to your calendar?

Do you need help developing your own list of restful activities?

Ready to jumpstart your list? It’s time to dive in and make your own list of Restivities that you can do in 15 minutes, or less!

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