Are you a caregiver? Are you so busy between work, home, (and school) or passionate about what you do that sometimes, you neglect your own care? It is nice to have things for comfort during the week, but what about activities for peace of mind and fuller rest on days off? From one caregiver to another, here are eight reminders that encourage self-care for caregivers.
1. Use Your Health Benefits
You may not think you have time, but you need to make time for this. After working long hours with various people multiple days in a row, it’s probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you have a day off. Maybe you put it off because you feel okay but then worry whenever something feels off. Health check-ups should be at least once or twice a year. Make use of all available benefits and get your medical, visual, and dental health checked out annually or biannually. Scheduling appointments in advance rather than waiting until something is wrong helps prevent worry.
2. Take Care of Other Business
Get the other big stuff done. (Have you done your taxes yet?) Pay off or chip away at debt, and avoid adding more by being mindful of your spending habits. Nip these in the bud — you don’t need them hovering over your head for long.
3. Clean, Declutter, and Organize
Often thought of as “chores,” cleaning, decluttering, and organizing are great multitasking activities that not only upkeep the home but help release negative energy or stress. Do this throughout the week, and you won’t have to deal with it as much on days off. They’re great to do while listening to online courses and participating in continuing education webinars. (Don’t forget to turn the camera off and mute yourself!)
4. Switch It Up
If you read research articles on your own time, give your health science brain a break. Read about (or watch) something entirely different. For example, read a beauty & fashion or home & garden magazine, or watch a comedy or reality television show. Create something — cook a dish, draw and color or paint a picture, sculpt a figure, crochet or knit a hat or scarf, or sew a bag, piece of clothing, or pillow cover.
5. Take Advantage of Discounts
Make use of applicable employee discounts. Choose ones you will use regularly and not become a wasted expense (for example, a gym or museum membership discount).
6. Use That Gift Card
Take out saved gift cards or certificates. Jot down things you’ve been needing or wanting to ease the in-store or online shopping experience. Or get a spa treatment, such as a facial, haircut, or manicure, or dine at one of your favorite restaurants.
7. Get Outside
If you can get outside for a walk or lunch during the week, kudos to you! (If you live in the city, this may be limited to moving your car, so you don’t get a ticket!) On days off, be sure to get some fresh air, sunshine, and physical activity in. Try changing your scenery for a different perspective.
8. Eat & Drink Healthier
You don’t have to go on a diet to reap benefits (unless advised by a medical professional). Eating healthier can be as simple as eating less meat and more home-cooked meals and fiber-rich foods, such as whole grains, legumes, and seasonal fruits & vegetables. Drinking healthier can be as easy as drinking no or less alcohol, sugar, and caffeine-containing beverages and more water. If a manager wants to treat you to edible goodies, consider asking for less salty, fatty, and sugary foods.
Remember, not only comfort but self-care for caregivers is needed, too! You know this, and you’ve got this. Thank you for all that you do, and take care!