As caregivers, we give so much of ourselves: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually that at times we can feel as though we are running on empty.
Below are a few suggestions to try to help sustain yourself as you take care of another.
1. Taking Care of Yourself Physically – Even five minutes of physical activity a day can be of great benefit. Do a short Yoga practice.Walk around the block, if you can. Take some deep breaths. Eat well. Take your vitamins. Do whatever you need to do to maintain good health.
2. Taking Care of Yourself Mentally – Don’t forget to do the things you love. Read. Write. Paint. Listen to music. Watch TV. Even enjoying a quiet cup of tea can be so helpful. Anything, as long as you give your mind a chance to rest.
3. Taking Care of Yourself Emotionally – It can be so helpful to talk to someone else; a trusted friend, a pastor, rabbi, therapist. Unburdening yourself to a compassionate and nonjudgmental person can make all the difference between treading water and drowning. There are on-line support and closed Facebook groups as well. The benefit of these, of course, is that there is anonymity. Perfect for those who do not feel comfortable sharing in a group.But whatever you choose, remember, you are not alone.
4. Taking Care of Yourself Spiritually – Pray. Meditate. Look up at a clear, star-filled sky. Gaze out at the ocean or at mountains. Anything that reminds you that the universe is bigger than whatever you may be going through. If Yoga isn’t your thing or if your caregiving situation does not permit you to go out for walks, try to think of other ways you can get in a little physical activity. For this, you might need to be a creative. It might be as easy as taking a walk around your living room. If unburdening your feeling in a group situation, being it actual or virtual, isn’t for you then perhaps journaling might be. It’s so important to find ways to take care of yourself.
If you don’t take care of yourself how will you be able to properly take care of another?