February 01, 2021 by jas
Self-care is always a priority! For some reason we forget about ourselves when we are caring for others. BUT no matter what you are doing in life, you will do it better if you have taken care of yourself. You can choose to be a trendsetter in self-care, it is that important! There are always new self-care suggestions that might spark your interest and encourage spending time with, and on, yourself.
FIRST: Do any of these raise any warning signs?
- Do you feel overwhelmed or worried?
- Are you frequently tired?
- . Is your sleep pattern erratic?
- Are you easily angered or irritated?
- Do you feel sad or lose interest in activities?
- Do you notice frequent headaches or bodily pain?
- Do you abuse alcohol, or drugs, prescription or OTC?
GIVE SOME THOUGHT…
1. What makes you feel good…something that you don’t have to force yourself to do?
2. What assures your good health – emotional, mental and physical?
3. What improves your mood and reduces your anxiety?
4. What improves your relationship with yourself and others?
5. Who makes you smile and your heart sing?
Find those things and those people – the ones that make your heart sing! Be with those who make you smile, who lift your spirt and make life wonderful, those who make you feel good…for the entire day!
SECOND: Consider these strategies for helping yourself…
…and if none work, CALL FOR HELP…see next section.
1. Reach out and ACCEPT help from friends, family, organizations who offer it.
2. Know you are doing the best you can. Focus on what you can do.
3. Only do what is realistic. Learn to say ‘no’ when asked to help others. Learn to ask for help for yourself.
4. Find what services are available that would be helpful…meals, transport, house keeping, and find how it include it in your daily life.
5. If you find it helpful, find support groups to talk with, on phone, on zoom, on facetime. It is good to know someone is arm’s length away if you need them! Find activities with those with similar issues.
6. See your doctor and discuss your health issues that you notice are not right. Listen to their suggestions.
7. Consider respite care…where someone comes in and cares for your loved on so you can do necessary errands or go for ‘relief contacts’…like lunch with a friend.
Write these names and numbers on a note and put on your fridge!
If you feel you need help right now…try these services…
1. Telehealth Ontario – Call Toll-free: 1-866-797-0000
2. Crisis Services Canada – Call 1.833.456.4566 | Text 45645
…find someone to talk to!!!
3. Call your personal health care provider for guidance.
In these times of COVID-19, find ways to do some of these things with friends online, together. One-on-one or a group, just visiting or playing games or listening or learning…when you can or on a schedule, if that helps get it done! You will be happier.
Of course, we know that self-care does include taking time to care for personal care, a doctor visit, a bubble bath, meditation, taking your own medication, remembering your allergies, keeping track of your appointments, getting the nourishment that you need.
As caregivers, we tend to give our thoughts, time and actions toward the care of our loved one. Too often, we do not meet our own needs equally… we can offer better care when we take care of ourselves equal to the care we give our loved one. We are certainly worth taking the time. We have been told, and hopefully we know for sure, that we are a better caregiver when we have filled our needs, when our glass is filled with love, when our heart is singing, when we are nourished and calm.
Self-care is not a selfish act. In fact, if we do not care for ourselves we cannot care for anyone else. We need to take care of needs as part of our role maintenance.
To eliminate wasted time, begin to prioritize your actions.
1. become aware of what actions you do,
2. understand why you do it, how that action feels
3. recognize desirable and undesirable results of your actions, the outcomes
4. repeat what makes you feel good; eliminate or evaluate what makes you feel bad.
Find reasons to laugh. Create reasons to laugh. Ask others to laugh with you.
You cannot feel bad if your really feel good!
If you laughed at any pictures on this page, look again, laugh again! If you had trouble laughing, please consider if you would feel better if you talked with someone, just talked.
Taken from the self-care section on our CAREGIVER TIPS page, read these few lines below…
it takes a minute to find ways to help yourself that can make huge differences in your life!
YOU ARE WORTH IT!
CAREGIVERS TAKING CARE OF THEMSELVES: . . . means they will be healthier and, therefore, can provide better care to their loved one.
Never assume another caregiver is going through what you are experiencing, or that you experience what they do. We have no idea what others are experiencing in their personal lives. Their life will be different.
Sometimes you get so busy taking care of others that you forget that you are important, too! Take care of yourself, of your needs, of your loved one and of your life in a way that words for you.
- Take a break, have your luxuries, spend time with friends, arrange to go shopping, make time for your own passions, all without feeling inadequate or guilty. It is necessary that caregivers feel refreshed to remain a healthy, rested provider for their loved one.
- Eat well, focus on nutritional content. Exercise, sleep well, and see a personal health provider regularly. If these areas are threatened by caregiving, or caregiving is threatened by failures in any of these areas, respond as if there is a red flag— get help immediately.
- List the tasks that are done on a daily basis to be able to recognize and acknowledge the important issues. Rank them. This way the most important ones get attention. Ask for help with those things that push caregiving beyond the boundaries for each day and task.
- Schedule relief time, when someone will spend time with the loved one while the caregiver takes a break, either out of the home or in the home.
- Have someone lined up, or a service that provides carers handy who understands your loved one so when your stress, exhaustion or illness arise, someone can come in for a longer period than a few hours. Physicians, family members, PSWs, Alzheimer Society counselling services , overnight services all can contribute ideas to solve the particular issue you have.
- Emotions are our ‘guidance system.‘The whole spectrum of emotions will appear at some point throughout the journey. Let emotions be a guide to the intensity of stress that may be keeping you from being your best or doing your best. Pay attention to how you feel and respond in the best way possible at the time.
- Read Caregiver Care here on this site and find other appropriate articles online related to your needs. BUT DO IT. Having ideas researched and solutions ready will begin to reduce stress before it begins. ~Various people contributed these comments through discussions over time. 🌞
- Read Maybe I Could Have… by Andrea René Williams, clear reflections on ideas she wished she’d done better, on ways she wished she’d been better prepared.
If we don’t take care of ourselves, if we don’t ask for help when we need it…the toll on those already tired and overwhelmed can be much greater than if we were not caregivers.
I know caregiving gets tedious, it gets downright exhausting. But caregivers help one another because we know we need to be encouraged and to laugh. Ask your friend, your Alzheimer Society, your counselor, your therapist, your doctor. We all want the best for our friends. Needing help is not something to be embarrassed about, but something that is necessary. We ALL need support. Support is a huge part of self-care.
If you have tried all this and still feel down, call the Alzheimer Society and ask for a counselor because it is an emergency for you!
Balancing our Self-care (c) 2021 Judith Allen Shone
All photos shown in the photo galleries on this page are from Pixabay.com