CPR and when to stop
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is a process that many know as CPR. CPR is meant to return life to someone not breathing and whose heart is not beating. It is a process that any civilian can learn and can help to sustain or save lives especially when combined with advanced medical care. As a medical professional, paramedic, nurse, or technician, CPR is stopped when life is renewed or when the medical director makes the difficult call to quit. Civilians with a CPR card are under a different set of rules. CPR can be legally or ethically stopped under the following circumstances. (as always, check your jurisdiction or CPR provider to verify this accuracy)
- When the person begins breathing
- When an automatic external defibrillator is available
- When a higher level of care is available (firefighter or paramedic)
- The scene becomes unsafe
- When you are too exhausted to continue
While the first three make simple and easy sense, the last two are easily forgotten or misunderstood. If the scene is unsafe, someone giving CPR cannot make sure of their own safety and cannot effectively do CPR while in danger. If someone giving CPR becomes so exhausted that they can no longer perform, then they will be ineffective and increase the risk of hurting themselves in the process.
How does this translate to self-care and self-love?
Two concepts that are ignored are self-care and self-love. One of the problems is that self-care feels entitled and self-love feels selfish. I am here to tell you that BOTH of those assertions are correct….but they are also necessary!
Self care involves taking time to work on something for you and your physical and mental health. Self care is needed to make your own personal world run smoothly. People, whether professional or not, love to help others. They do it often and consistently. But at some point, psychotherapists ask the question, “what have you done for yourself lately?” All too often, the answer is “nothing.” That is worrisome because we want our clients to care for themselves. But let’s be selfless and look at the problem from a different light.
If you want to be selfless, compassionate, and empathic, you have to be able to be those things for yourself first. Self love, like self-care, is something internal and beautiful but it is not a one and done procedure. You must practice it often. Without being selfish, compassionate, and empathic to you, you cannot give your all to another. Much like scenario 5 in CPR, if your emotional batteries drain too quickly and cannot be refilled, you will be less effective at caring for others. This is why we push and push to keep people practicing self-care and self-love. When those batteries drain, your capacity for care drains. At that point, you may a danger to yourself through episodes of emotional exhaustion, social fatigue, and broken physical limitations.
Lack of self-care, much like pushing the limits in exhaustion helps no one. It’s unfortunate, but true and it can be hard to admit to ourselves. We MUST be selfish from time to time. So if self-care and self-love come easy to you, then my hat is off. If you are currently finding new ways to take care of yourself, then you are ahead of the game. However, if self-care is not something natural or organic and you find yourself unable to cope, there is always help via friends, family, and professionals.
Now quit reading and go take care of yourself!
Comment below your favorite self-care activity!