10 Paracords of Self-Care

the parachute project
A parachute being dragged along the ground by the paracords. .

In an instant everything changes.  You hear those words you never thought you would hear. They hit you, harder than you have ever been hit, from behind or squarely in the gut.  They knock you off your feet.  Suddenly, you feel yourself falling. Your arms and legs are flailing, reaching out for anything that feels like solid ground. Your eyes search for anything strong and stable that can pull you back and away from this…  You can hear nothing but the wind rushing past your ears … Fully anticipating the horribly painful crash at the bottom. 

Then, in those first moments, you pray and feel God is there beside you. The rushing wind quiets ever so slightly, your Spiritual Cord. Your partner holds you in a warm embrace that reminds you that you are both falling together. Your heart beat slows, your Marital Cord. As days pass, family, friends and acquaintances hear the news and reach out with words and deeds.  You feel yourself slow down as if their support is resisting the pull of gravity, your Social Cord.  A freezer full of meals and a long walk helps your mind re-gain focus, your Physical Cord.  As time passes you feel your sense of security begin to return as your support system, your parachute, fills with air, the cords hold strong and pull you back from the edge.


There are 10 paracords of self-care that, when well cared for, keep us securely attached to our parachute and impact how well it is able to support us in the face of crisis and challenge.


The Physical Cord

Our physical cord connects us to the pieces of our parachute that maintain our health and physical well-being. A strong physical cord allows us to maintain our strength and endurance for the long haul.


The Mental Cord

Our mental cord connects us to the pieces of our parachute that help us to manage stress.  A strong mental cord influences the way in which we react to our circumstances and whether we manage those reactions in a healthy and proactive way.


The Emotional Cord

The emotional cord connects us to the pieces of our parachute that help us to process our circumstances. A strong emotional cord will provide us with resources and opportunities to manage our fears, worries and emotions in a healthy and proactive way.


The Spiritual Cord

Our spiritual cord connects us to the pieces of our parachute that strengthen our belief in a God more powerful than ourselves.  A strong spiritual cord will allow us to stand up in faith, and find comfort and hope in circumstances beyond our control, no matter how insurmountable they may seem.


The Social Cord

The social cord connects us to the pieces of our parachute that nurture the relationships we have with family members, friends and others in our community.  A strong social cord will prevent the isolation and loneliness parents often experiences when managing a child’s condition that few in their circle may understand.


The Marital Cord

The marital cord connects us to the pieces of our parachute that nurture our relationship with the most important person in our life, our partner. A strong marital cord will provide lasting and mutual partnership, friendship, and intimacy in spite of the intense pressures parents raising medically complex and special needs children will inevitably experience.


The Parental Cord

The parental cord connects us to the pieces of our parachute that allow us to experience the joy and wonder of parenting despite the heavy responsibilities and uncertainties our circumstances may bring.  A strong parental cord will enrich the relationships we have with all of our children and give us the opportunity to enjoy the gift it is to be a parent. 


The Financial Cord

The financial cord connects us to the pieces of our parachute that keep our household and our family secure and well taken care of.   A strong financial cord will bring us peace of mind through proactive financial planning and a well-prepared safety net that will provide for our family no matter what the future may bring.


The Professional Cord

The professional cord connects us to the pieces of our parachute that keep us in touch with the skills and interests we are passionate about, whether we are financially compensated for them or not. A strong professional cord will allow us to pursue activities outside of our home and family that exercise those skills and abilities we possess and that bring value to the world around us.


The Reputational Cord

The reputational cord connects us to the pieces of our parachute that reinforce and maintain our good name and public standing. A secure reputational cord provides the means through which we practice personal responsibility, and exemplify accountability, honesty, and leadership for our family and community.


The 10 paracords of self-care are the means by which you stay connected to the people, places, things, activities and experiences that make up your parachute. These pieces of your parachute provide you with encouragement, support, rest, security, recreation etc. and are critical to how well you are able to manage difficult circumstances and meet the demands of your caregiving role. Each cord holds you securely to your parachute. Each cord is important, but don't let the descriptions overwhelm you. 

Not every cord needs to be at its strongest for the parachute to do its job well. A parachute with only a couple of cords attached, no matter how strong they are, will not be effective in catching the air and lifting you up in your fall. However, a parachute with many cords securely attached, even if they are weak, will. Each cord supports the others by dispersing the weight and reducing the strain on each individual cord. Working together they are able to hold fast, slow the fall and soften the landing.   


READ MORE: Your Parachute


All it takes is small intentional effort invested consistently over time, to keep your cords securely attached to your parachute and holding strong.  Because the cords support each other so well, a small action taken to strengthen one will also work to strengthen others. In this way, small actions can have significant impact on meeting your self-care needs, restoring your strength and well-being so that you are better able to manage difficult circumstances as they arise.



Self-Care Action Discussed in This Post:

Take a few minutes to think about the ten paracords of self-care, discussed above. Consider in which area you feel most secure and in which area you feel weakest. 



Related Posts:



100 Self-Care Activities for Caregivers

Get your FREE download delivered right to your inbox!

Check Out This Self-Care Resource!

The Parachute Project™ Caregiver Planner!


100 pages of "done for you" organizational resources that will support you in your caregiving role. Finally, take control of record keeping and never loose track of important information again. Eliminate the stress and anxiety that comes from trying to keep up with it all!

This planner is a full color digital, download which can be printed on demand or conveniently stored as a workable digital copy on your favorite portable device.

Resources include: Appointments, Contacts, Trackers, Instructions, Family History, and so much more! Designed to be flexible and easily personalized to any circumstance, this one time purchase will continue to serve your caregiving needs for many years to come! Includes access to future additions and updates at no additional cost.

Tell Me More!