Caregivers need care too.
Practising self-care is crucial for our physical and mental health to keep active strongly as a mental health caregiver. Without adequate self-care, we are less likely to be the best possible version of ourselves, and our relationships, work and experience of the world suffers as a result. Although it might feel like the opposite, the times when we feel least able to pay attention to our self-care are the times when we most need it. If you’re feeling stretched for time, it can be difficult to know how to start fitting self-care into your week. Here’s how you can start looking out for yourself, so you can take care of others.
1. Adequate hydration
You should drink enough water every day. Most people have been told they should drink 6 to 8 glasses of water each day. That is a reasonable goal. However, different people need different amounts of water to stay hydrated. For some people, fewer than 8 glasses may be enough. Other people may need more than 8 glasses each day.
2. Eat healthily and mindfully
Too often we eat our meals while multitasking, thus denying ourselves the pure experience of a nourishing meal. Are you checking your mobile phone when having dinner with your loved ones? Treat yourself and your loved ones with respect, and allow yourself to indulge in a meal without any distractions.
3. Emotional Support
Keeping in touch with other caregivers can help to reduce the emotional stress you have. Talking about your experiences to people who would understand your concerns and challenges can be a great release for pent up emotions.
4. Plenty of sleep
Adults generally need between seven and nine hours of sleep, so make sure you have that so you feel refresh again the next day.
5. Daily Hygiene Routine
Personal hygiene is how you care for your body. Every day, you come into contact with millions of outside germs and viruses. They can linger on your body, and in some cases, they may make you sick. Personal hygiene practices can help you and the people around you prevent illnesses. They can also help you feel good about your appearances.
6. Express Gratitude
Just as it’s beneficial to keep track of what we’ve done, it’s also good to notice what we have. Keep a journal by your bed, and note the things that you feel lucky to have. Everything from clean sheets to a good friend is worth noting.
7. Gift your inner child
What were some of your favourite things when you were little? Did you love sidewalk chalk, picking wildflowers, or eating marshmallows? Treat your inner child to a little present and allow the warm feelings to wash over you.
8. Balance your life
Being a caregiver is an important part of your life, but it’s not the whole story. Finding the balance may be hard, but you need to set the boundaries in ways you can and cannot help. It is important to understand that self-care is not a personal indulgence – by maintaining control of your life, you are helping others.