Self Care for Caregivers

Take Care of Yourself

When someone says “Take care of yourself” it is an honest sentiment. But often we do not listen to our bodies and we are left without the skills to take care of ourselves. Our bodies do not come with a set of instructions. We feel hunger, pain and tiredness. These signals are supposed to promote healing actions. In the modern world the demands of our jobs, especially as caregivers, our fast paced personal lives, and the stimulation of our environment creates static “noise” that can keep us from hearing or heeding the signals our bodies are sending.

How many of us skip meals, skip exercise, and do not get enough sleep, fresh air or water in a day? We miss connecting with friends, or disconnecting in meditation and begin to feel out of step with the world. Here are some easy ways to care for yourself:

  • Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated gives you vitality and energy.

  • Take some quiet time at the start of each day. You can learn a meditation practice. If this seems overwhelming at first, start with simply sitting quietly and and focus on your breath for one to five minutes.

  • Relax. Watch your favorite movie or read a good book. You deserve a rest. Take the opportunity to enjoy what inspires you.

  • Skip the sugary snacks. Opt for a healthy energy boost of fruit or veggies.

  • Use affirmations. They may seem silly at first but it helps to repeat messages that are positive in order for those feelings to integrate into our lives. “Take action, live with purpose, be grateful.”

  • Go nuts. Walnuts specifically contain omega-3 fatty acids that are good for the brain.

  • Eat in peace. Be in a peaceful place while you’re eating each meal for the day; physically and mentally. Eating at your desk while working or standing up or even in the car does not give your body time to register that you are eating and will leave you hungry.

  • Dream big. Make a list of your 3 Big Goals and 3 Small Goals. Each day do one small thing towards those goals.

  • Be creative. It may have been some time since your school days and you may not have done any artwork, or written a poem in a while. Doing creative projects boosts happiness levels and increases self esteem.

  • Take a bath. Soaking is one of the most relaxing things you can do for your body. Enjoy aromatherapy, bath bubbles, bath salts, and candles.

  • Take a walk. Enjoying a walk outside helps with Vitamin D and the flowing of Endorphins, which helps your spirit and your immune system.

  • Take a Nap. There is nothing better for improving mood, alertness and performance.

  • Laugh. They say laughter is the best medicine and it is. Laughing is good for the soul and lowers blood pressure. People who lower their blood pressure, even those who start at normal levels, will reduce their risk of strokes and heart attacks.

  • Dance. Dancing lifts your spirits and gets you moving a one minute “dance break” does wonders and dancing is contagious.

  • Connect with friends. Developing a support system is important to be a healthy person. Taking a moment for connection will make you feel stronger and happier. Even a furry friend helps, petting animals reduces stress levels.

You may not be able to do everything every day and that is ok. Doing one thing for yourself each day and developing self care routines will help you and help the people you help. And with all that is in our hearts we say “take care.”