Caregivers (professional and family) struggle with self-care even though we all know that self-care makes for a better caregiver experience. I’m always a little embarrassed when I preach to a caregiver about self-care only to be met with eyes that say “you’ve got to be kidding”.
Between the day to day care tasks of caring for an elder and the management of their care there’s not a lot of energy left at the end of the day for ourselves.
A lot of us get hung up on this idea that self-care is some complicated, expensive concept that has to be thought out, planned and organized. Self-care doesn’t have to be a weekend get away, a $90 massage or an expensive gym membership.
Sometimes it’s the simple day to day things we neglect. As we become so absorbed in taking care of others, we simply forget to look at ourselves in the mirror and tend to our simplest of needs.
Self-care is a signal to our sub-conscious mind, the universe, our families and communities that caregiving is a noble cause. Caregiver self-care is a mindset that signals to the world that caregivers are important and deserve respect.
SIMPLE IDEAS TO PRACTICE CAREGIVER SELF-CARE
- Laugh (watch an episode of your favorite comedy)
- Walk around the block
- Set outside in fresh air
- Put your face to the sun
- Take three deep, deep breaths
- Is it snowing? Make a snow angel!
- Drink a big glass of water
- Take your vitamin
- Listen to music
- Look yourself in the mirror and say “you’re awesome, I love you”
- Read a book
- Light a candle
- Pet your cat
- Pet your dog
- Adult coloring books! Get one, use it
- Attend a support group
- Put your hands in dirt
- Make your bed
- Eat an apple
- Is it raining? Play in it!
- Do you have a hobby you love? Do it for 15 minutes
- Take a bubble bath
- Put your feet in water
- Purchase yourself some flowers
- Turn within; pray, meditate
- Write in your journal
- Call a friend
- Take a nap
- Watch the sun rise and set
Remember self-care is about restoring balance and peace of mind, even if it’s for a short period of time. It’s a state of mind that’s developed over time through self-awareness and action.
It’s not selfish or unkind, it’s self love and compassion!
How about you? Are you a caregiver struggling to care for yourself? What would you like to add to the list? Share your self-care ideas in the comments below!