Too often as caregivers, we forget that we also need care. Many people take on the role of giving care: for kids, aging parents, spouses, etc. But how often do you stop and think about your needs? Showing yourself care and love is an important part of keeping yourself ready and able to care for others. If you don’t refuel your mind, body, and spirit every now and then, you’re sure to burn out when caring for others.
If you’ve spent a lifetime caring for others, it can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to self-care. Luckily, we have ten simple ways you can start practicing self-care today. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant (think: weekend getaway), it just needs to be something that helps you relax and refuel and doesn’t add stress to your already full plate.
10 Simple Ways to Practice Self-Care
- Create a space that’s just for you. This doesn’t have to be anything big or fancy, but having a small space that’s dedicated to you and the things that you love is an important first step in self-care. Have small items that make you happy in a place where you can always find them so you can take quick moments for yourself whenever you have a spare minute.
- Get creative. Whether you love to scrapbook or bake, do something that has a tangible end product. This can help clear your mind while still staying active and producing something. Making something tangible is a form of meditation for most people.
- Take a social media break. Looking at the lives of others is a surefire way to feel a bit down about your own. Other people’s lives tend to look rosy from the outside, so it can make you feel like your own life doesn’t measure up. We all know it’s not true, but taking that break can give you an added push to remember that life isn’t always about comparison.
- Go for a walk. It doesn’t even have to be a walk – just do something that gets you up and moving. Exercise releases endorphins, which can improve your overall mood quickly. Do an activity that you find fun and entertaining rather than something you think of as a chore.
- Read something you enjoy. Whether it’s a new novel or the latest magazine that arrived in your mailbox, reading something you enjoy, even for just a few minutes, is something that can help you feel recharged.
- Get comfy. Find a place in your home that makes you feel cozy. Get a warm blanket and into your pajamas. All of these things will trigger a sense of peace and happiness that we associate with getting a good night’s sleep without actually having to nod off.
- Channel your inner child. Playing games, skipping rocks, building forts, and other fun things you used to do as a kid are not reserved for the young. Get out and do things you enjoyed as a child. It will help you unwind and relax. No need to adult every minute of every day.
- Nourish your body. Nothing will help you feel like you are the best version of yourself quite like staying hydrated and eating right. Lots of water (at least one ounce per pound of body weight) each day along with a diet full of whole foods (think: items that don’t come in packages) will help your brain and your body function at a high level.
- Celebrate your success. Getting bogged down in the day-to-day routine can sometimes overshadow what you’ve truly accomplished. Did you get everyone out of the house on time this morning? Did you walk a little further to get to the store? Even the small things deserve a pat on the back, even if it’s just from yourself. Too often we focus on the things that went wrong. It’s just as important to appreciate the things that went right.
- Be kind. Showing kindness to others is an essential part of being kind to yourself. Show compassion and empathy to everyone you meet, regardless of how you may feel about them or the situation. You will notice an immediate change in how you feel when you first make a point to be kind to others.
These ten ideas for taking care of yourself are simple and inexpensive. So what are you waiting for? Start taking better care of yourself today so that you can be a happier, healthier caregiver for those you love.
Want to learn more?
Learn all about the art of caregiving – from how to care for yourself as a caregiver to how to best care for those needing care. Download our FREE EBOOK for all the information you need in one spot!