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Human Performance Blog

Carers; Givers and Takers

Are you somebody's someone? A teacher, coach, mentor, medical/mental health service provider, and/or friend.

This makes you a CARER. Carers give their time, mental energy and resources to others, and their instinct is to put the experiences of others first. They are usually the people we talk to, share our stories with and call on, so that we can feel lighter and better.

The role of the carer is very important to High Performance. The SUPPORT they provide makes up two of the six Psychological Characteristics for Developing Excellence. These two factors deal with the creation of the healthy environment for the developing performers' long term success and helping them realize their potential. A Carer is one of the most important kind of Performer.

In this collective experience though, Who Cares For The Carer?

Balancing caring for others, and simultaneously managing their own response to stress, is a challenge. Most often, the carer is not expected/allowed to have any challenges or problems of his/her own.

What happens when their experience is consistently swept 'under the rug' to deal with later? The result is burn out.

BURN OUT is a state/feeling of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion which is usually caused by excessive and prolonged stress. Burnout can look like depression with symptoms of tiredness; due to constant worry and trouble sleeping, and somberness; when there is a lot on the mind.

High performers are not immune to burnout. Especially in professions where caring for others is not only a choice, but a responsibility. High performers ensure that there is BALANCE, they give and take. This is essential to the maintenance of their high performance, so that they can continue to care for others.

The 'Carer Trap' is one that many performers fall into, that is, not wanting to appear vulnerable. This is because the common definition of vulnerable is to be weak, or in need of special care, support or protection.

The trap though, is not only in avoiding vulnerability, but also in not recognizing vulnerability as the greatest strength of the high performer. Vulnerability gives license to be authentic, to think, to feel, and be aware of not only strengths (as we do with confidence) but weaknesses or trigger points.

Vulnerability is the bright light that doesn't let you hide behind the Superman Complex of appeasing or helping others. It makes you look at you, and helps fuel growth, success, deepening of the human connection, and increased well-being.

Carers GIVE till they are Burned out...the way to avoid Burn out is to TAKE.

Take time for yourself - be silly, be you, be human.

Take your own advice - journal, get outside, meditate, focus on whats good.

Take up space - in your conversations, share your own experience too.

Take an inventory - of your own mental and physical health.

In order to avoid burnout, the CARER doesn't take from who they want to give, but give to themselves as well.

Being vulnerable is not a weakness. It is not selfish. It is an opportunity to be more self-aware and practice self-care.

Reminding yourself that this stress and experience are not only ours (the people you care for) but they are also yours.

TAKE so that you can continue to GIVE.

If you are a carer and finding it difficult to balance...

If you know a carer and not sure how to care for them...


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