Updated: Aug 5
When one of my family members experienced a major medical crisis it was all hands on deck. Suddenly my priorities were completely reshuffled and spare moments I used to have in my day were now filled with giving family updates, unexpected calls from doctors, or educating myself through endless Googling.
If you've ever spent any extended time as a caregiver in a hospital or rehabilitation facility then you know how incredibly easy it is to not drink water for hours, accept a vending machine snack as a meal, or sit awkwardly in the same position until your body starts cramping. Before you realize it, your adrenaline is what's helping you put one foot in front of the other - not your healthy habits. Not only is your loved one in need of a health recovery plan but you are too.
A crisis takes a toll on your physical, mental, and spiritual health at an accelerated pace.
The reality is that a majority of us will serve as a lead caregiver for someone else during a health crisis for an extended period of time at least once in our life. For some, this may be a period of weeks or months caring for an ill parent or spouse while for others it may be a lifetime of caring for a child that fell ill with an intense medical condition or experienced a life-altering physical injury.
Crisis caregiving is a marathon - not a sprint. Regardless of how many weeks, months, or years you are assuming the responsibility of caring for a loved one, your daily habits will understandably shift and your rationale will be completely logical. No one will question you as to why you're no longer fitting in fitness, why your brain fog is more intense, or why another cup of coffee sounds more refreshing than water.
But the habits that made you physically, emotionally, and spiritually strong to manage the responsibilities of being a caregiver during a crisis will get harder to reestablish again every day you make them lower priority to the crisis itself.
Whether you are already mid-crisis or if you are unaware of a crisis ahead of you, here are five 5-minute actions you can take TODAY to start crisis-proofing your daily habits:
Determine 3-5 BAM anchor habits (i.e. your bare ass minimums) that can be completed under any and all conditions. Make these anchor habits so simple they require minimum effort to maintain and are essential to your quality of life. TODAY take 5 minutes and write down the first anchor habits that come to mind such as drinking 2 full water bottles a day, taking medication/vitamins at the same time every day, or stretching for 10 min.
Write down your anchor habits in your daily calendar or planner so they are easier to remember and can be locked into your routine without even thinking about it. TODAY create an "all-day task" with the habits on your electronic calendar or write them down as the first 3-5 items on your daily to-do list.
Post your anchor habits in your home so your loved ones can help you maintain these habits during a crisis and can hold you accountable so you don't fall too far out of routine. TODAY write your anchor habits on a sticky note to post on a bathroom mirror or over dinner create a family commitments list with everyone's anchor habits to post in the kitchen.
Share your anchor habits with your besties so they can be your accountability partners should you ever need some tough love with your habits. TODAY send a text (or a group text) with your anchor habits and encourage them to share their anchor habits with you too.
Celebrate completing your anchor habits every single day so you practice the joys of finding small victories. A crisis can become the center of attention but when you include the habit of celebration in your daily routine you can build a buffer around the crisis so it doesn't completely consume you. TODAY make a point to celebrate the anchor habits you completed regardless of whether you completed them all or only
Crisis-proofing your habits and maintaining a habitize mindset during a crisis is an incredible tool for any caregiver. It's a form of self-care that is not talked about enough. More from us on how to crisis-proof your habits will be rolling out in emails soon so make sure our emails are reaching your inbox!
Don't let these tasks overwhelm you. As you work on crisis-proofing your habits, keep these mantras in mind:
I've survived every challenged I've faced.
I will stay calm to help solve the crisis not contribute to the crisis.
A crisis is an opportunity to show me how courageous I am.