In this busy hustle-and-bustle life we live, it’s often a challenge to take care of the ones we love, let alone ourselves. Self-care is a difficult concept for many individuals, especially those caring for young children or an elderly loved one. Throw in the other responsibilities of life – a house, a job, concerns about our professional goals and achievements, along with all our other commitments – and taking care of ourselves drops even lower on our to-do list. But the truth is, that if we don’t stop and smell the roses and indulge in some self-care, the mental and physical exhaustion will catch up with us all at some point.
The thing about self-care is that it needs routine, consistent maintenance. It’s not something you can do and forget about for another six months like your auto tune-up. Like a physical workout, it requires commitment, but the payoffs will be tremendous.
We hear your excuses: “I don’t have time for me!” “Self-care is for the selfish!” “Let me first help the others in my life, and then I will help me!” It may be helpful for you to look at self-care like that oxygen mask dangling from the celling of a rapidly descending airplane. Do you remember the instructions from the flight attendant? Secure your own oxygen mask prior to helping those in need around you. This analogy is helpful to keep in mind when you start to view self-care as “selfish.” We really can’t be of use to anyone if we, ourselves, can’t breathe.
Of course it is important to care for others, but not at the expense of ourselves. Many people who have had a physical or emotional breakdown due to the lack of self-care end up the true champions of self-care and practice it happily, and you can too. Remember too, self-care doesn’t have to be a chore! It can be, and is meant to be, fun and enjoyable while you learn more about who you are and what you value. This new understanding makes for a more balanced, interesting individual. Self-care is specifically the time and activity you create for just you, and when done right, nurtures your whole self: spiritual, mental, physical and emotional.
There are tiny choices that you can make throughout the day to indulge yourself. Below are some ideas to help you get started:
- Eating right
- Regular check-ups
- Learn to say “No” to avoid over-commitment
- Take up a new hobby
- Journal and self-reflect
- Find a spiritual community
- Meditate (check out the “Headspace” app )
- Spend time in nature: hikes, cloud-watching
- Make connections with the important people in your life
- Spend time finding things that make you laugh, cry and feel
- Give yourself positive affirmations in the mirror
The best way family caregivers can ensure that time is carved out for self-care is by enlisting the help of a trusted Arizona home health care agency, like Nightingale Homecare. Our respite care services fill in the gaps with compassionate, experienced care for seniors, allowing their loved ones a much needed break to recharge. Contact us to learn more about how we can help improve quality of life – for the seniors you love, and for you!