Caregivers are the most selfless and caring people in the world, however, they most often tend to forget to take care of themselves. When someone we love is in pain, we focus on them. It’s natural and it’s what caring people do. However, when we ignore self-care, we increase our risk of burnout and we are more vulnerable in the face of physical and mental health problems. Not only that, but no one has unlimited resources so it is important to fill your cup if you want to have more to give. With that in mind, let’s look at some self-care habits that can help you stay motivated and energized to care for others:
Make A Plan To Help You Develop Self-Care Habits
When you ignored yourself and your needs for a long time, it is hard to simply take a break and relax. To make it work, you’ll need a plan. Start with small steps and see how it goes. Make sure you follow all the steps by adding them to your schedule. The goal of the steps is to make you get into self-care habits.
Create A Weekend Routine Focused On You
It’s not selfish to enjoy yourself from time to time. In fact, when you’re a caregiver, it’s actually recommended to do something just for you once in a while. Establish a Sunday self-care ritual with everything that entails – foot spa, facemask, scrubs, body treatments, and relaxing music. Go out with your friends for a few hours. Read a book. Anything that will keep your mind off your responsibilities. You are allowed to forget about all the problems for a couple of hours; this will not make you a bad caregiver.
Caregivers have many responsibilities and it’s hard for them to stop and take a break. Aside from taking care of your loved one, you have other responsibilities too. Work, food prepping, laundry, paying the bills, and so on. It may seem selfish to do things for yourself or ignore your responsibilities, however, life is precious so it is important to live it. You’re a being, not a doing and it’s not the end of the world if you don’t wash the dishes immediately or if your house is not always clean.
Pick Up A New Hobby
It may seem like the worst possible time to pick up a new hobby but the truth is taking care of your mental health by discovering new passions and by being creative will make you a better caregiver. Drawing, painting, singing, writing, exercising are activities that will help you fill your cup.
Find Your Balance
Contrary to popular belief, being overworked is not a virtue. When you multitask and you try to manage any stressful situation at the same time, you end up exhausted and less productive. It’s hard to stay organized and focused when you’re always stressed. Some things cannot be avoided when you’re a caregiver but some can so set up some healthy boundaries, ask other people to help, take breaks, eat healthily, call someone you love, go to therapy. All these can be good solutions for caregivers but it’s important to find the ones that are good for you.
Start A Journal
When you’re a caregiver, your emotions and needs are not at the top of your mind. In fact, they can be the last on your list of things to think about. Caregivers don’t like to complain; they feel like it’s not their place to do it or that it is selfish to do it. If you cannot talk about your feelings, write them down. Be honest and don’t judge yourself for the way you feel. You’re only human and you are entitled to feel exactly what you feel. Starting a journal can be liberating. You’ll be able to express yourself without being judged or without worrying if your feelings are right or wrong.
Author Bio: Carmen is an entrepreneur and content marketer. In a former life, as a corporate business executive, she relied on yoga, reflexology, and other alternative practices to fight stress, anxiety and find balance. At Massageaholic.com she’s on a mission to bring massage therapy closer to those who want to build habits for well-being. You can follow her on Facebook and Pinterest.