The Caregiver in MidLife: Thoughts that run the show


The following is an excerpt from "The Caregiver in MidLife: Where their needs end and yours begin," by Ellen Besso.

Stopping our mind train and controlling our tendency to over-schedule may sound easier said than done, but it is quite possible dependingcaregiver on the priorities we set. If our thinking tells us: "I must...", or "I should", we can challenge it! Don't assume you must do something "just because...". You can give yourself permission to make a completely different choice.

We call this approach 'out of the box thinking' in our coaching practice. Where is it written in stone that we must do so many things? When something inside us screams "stop", our body, mind and spirit are sending out a very strong message.

  • Let's challenge the thoughts and beliefs we hold about our 'shoulds'.
  • When we eliminate 'shoulds' and 'musts', we're then ready to clarify what we truly want and need to do. What emerges may be most surprising. Try it and see.

Could it be that much of what you're doing out of duty or habit could be done by others or even eliminated entirely? Perhaps someone else would be happy to take on a volunteer job or to earn some money caregiving. In the case of a sibling, they might welcome the opportunity to spend more time with their parent if we step back. Our children and our partners are probably quite capable of taking on many more responsibilities than we've given them credit for.

There's no simple, across-the-board answer for dealing with the duties that sometimes feel like a super-human burden. Challenging the thoughts and beliefs that demand we over-perform will lift this load. Now the change has already begun!

No one will do this for us. We must act for ourselves. We are the only ones who can make the choices about our lives... the choices that are right for us. When we act rather than react to the needs and requests of others, we will discover satisfying ways to live in interdependence with them... ways that bring us joy.

When I sit still and really noticed the amazing natural beauty of the birds and the trees outside my back door, it made an enormous difference to me. The difference isn't just for that day; it is for each one of my days.

I invite you to make the choice to stop your activities frequently throughout your day to rejuvenate yourself and to clarify your next steps. When you feel drawn to take a pause, or if you feel yourself moving away from your center, just stop. Take a break, breathe deeply, get some fresh air, drink water, stretch your body, or eat something nourishing. In short, do whatever refreshes and replenishes you. In this way you will return yourself to that solid grounded place within. Give yourself this gift whenever possible.

Ellen Besso holds a Master of Arts degree in Counselling Psychology, is a Martha Beck Certified Coach and a Registered Clinical Counsellor. She is a writer and life coach who specializes in helping women access their joy and passions as they navigate the challenges of midlife, including caring for their elders.

Ellen has just released "The Caregiver in MidLife: Where their needs end and yours begin". In writing this insightful e-book Ellen has brought together her 25 years' experience as coach, counselor as well as her own journey as caregiver for her mother. "The Caregiver in MidLife" is for every woman who is caring for an aging parent or relative. The book's focuses is on the person behind the role. The chapters bring clarity to the emotions and thoughts, awareness of the physical, mental and spiritual needs; as well as examining the dynamics behind the changing parent-daughter relationship, feelings of guilt & loneliness, and how being in menopause while caregiving adds to the feeling of stress. A free accompanying workbook provides exercises specially designed to compliment the content of each chapter.


Contact Ellen Besso: 800 961 1364 NA Toll Free 604 886 1916 BC, Canada

This article may not be reprinted or reproduced in any way except by permission of the author, Ellen Besso or her agent Jill Crossland