Taking care of yourself while caring for others; it’s easy to say and hard to do. We know how dedicated our caregivers are to our clients and that they are passionate about the care they deliver. Whether you are a professional caregiver or you are caring for a close friend or relative, every day is filled with a long “to-do” list that can seem overwhelming. While attending to that list, keep the questions below in mind when you start to feel depleted. It is exactly at that moment you need to (1) Stop, (2) Take a deep breath, and (3) Self-check to see what you are missing. Take a moment to remind yourself that you cannot serve others from an empty cup. Have an honest conversation with self and ask the following questions:
- Did I get enough sleep? If not, try to find moments to rest or recharge throughout your day. Take a break, listen to a song, stretch, do some exercises, or eat something nutritious. Plan to go to sleep just a bit earlier tonight!
- Am I thirsty or hungry? Sometimes you are so busy taking care of the daily needs of others. You put yourself on the back burner or forget to eat and drink when you need to. Have water with you throughout the day to stay hydrated. Have nutritious snacks on hand if your schedule is full and you think your mealtime will be delayed. Never skip meals.
- Do I feel isolated or lonely? Caregivers are moving so fast sometimes, no one can get a hold of them to offer support or comfort. Be sure to make time for hugs, smiles, and laughter. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or even just a shoulder to lean on for a moment. Those around you know how much you give of yourself and they want to support you. Don’t deprive them of the opportunity to let you know how much they care about you. Spending time with people who don’t need something from you can be a great way to recharge!
- Am I neglecting my health? When was the last time you saw your doctor, planned a good meal, exercised, or took your vitamins? If the answer is one you’d rather not admit, then it’s time to get that on the calendar!
- Am I comfortable? Unresolved aches and pains, changes in temperature, body position, physical environment, and mood can have a huge impact on how you feel. If you can alter one uncomfortable aspect, you can change your whole experience to a more pleasant one.
At the end of the day, or more importantly, throughout the day– what you are doing (or NOT doing) to take care of yourself matters more than you realize. Answering these questions can make all the difference to you and the ones you love. Take the time…you’re worth it.