Self-care doesn’t have to be big, complex, time-consuming or expensive. It can be small. It can be easy. It can even be free. Why not give yourself the gift of simple self-care in 2017?
As a caregiver, you’re always thinking about how to care for someone else. Not about how to care for yourself.
And if you’re anything like me, you spend a lot of time trying to problem-solve, worrying about what’s happening and what’s going to happen next, and thinking about everything you need to do to keep up with the caregiving challenge.
You probably don’t spend much time thinking about how to relieve your own caregiver stress, how to find some time to do something you would like to do, or how to make things easier on yourself. You don’t think about self-care.
How about trying something different in 2017?
I’m not suggesting that you stop taking care of your loved one, or stop trying to solve problems, or even stop thinking about everything on your plate. Instead, I’m suggesting that you making some small changes this year that will help you take care of yourself.
You don’t need surveys and research studies to tell you that caregiver stress is real. You live it every day.
But you may not realize the toll the stress is taking on your body, your mind, and your life. Worse yet, you may feel there is nothing you can do about it.
When you care for yourself, you can care better for others.
It’s too easy to get lost in the shuffle and business when you’re a caregiver. There’s never enough time or energy, so what you need usually gets shoved aside. But you can only run so long without refueling yourself.
I’m sure you’ve heard the idea of how important it is to put on your own oxygen mask before you put on someone else’s.
I think of it like this: you can’t exhale if you don’t inhale. If there’s no oxygen in you, you can’t provide for others. Self-care is inhaling. It’s fueling yourself for all of the things you do for others. In fact, I would go so far to say that self-care is your duty as a caregiver. Because you certainly can’t run a marathon on empty.
Self-care is self-nourishment.
Maybe your vision of self-care is a day at the spa, or a vacation at the beach or an hour-long exercise or yoga session. And you know you don’t have that kind of time for yourself right now.
Self-care doesn’t have to be big, complex, time-consuming or expensive. It can be small. It can be easy. It can even be free. It can be as simple as taking a walk, or listening to your favorite tune, giving yourself a foot massage, or even just taking a few deep breaths.
The point is to take time to focus on yourself instead of focusing on everyone else (what you usually do)! To do something that nourishes your mind, body, and spirit.
Squeeze a little self-care into your crazy schedule.
Adding a little self-nourishment into your day doesn’t have to be a big project. It can be small and simple. Here are five ways to squeeze some simple, self-care into your day:
Stop what you’re doing, close your eyes, and take three slow deep breaths. Inhale deeply, exhale slowly. You’ll give your body the extra oxygen it needs and introduce a bit of relaxation into your day.
Put on your favorite tune and let your heart sing. Singing connects your head and your heart and brings your body back to harmony.
Even just a five-minute walk will clear your mind and let your shoulders return to their resting state instead of hugging your ears. Even better if your walk includes a bit of nature.
Give yourself a foot massage or hand massage with scented lotion or cream. In addition to how good it feels to smooth that lotion over your skin, you’ll be nourishing your skin cells and awakening your comfort receptors.
Hug your loved one, a pet, a friend, or just hug yourself. Nothing feels more comforting than a good hug!
What simple self-care can you squeeze into your day today?