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I love this quote by Benjamini Franklin which says, “When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.” It takes something to happen for us to sit up and take notice. Self-care is like keeping water in the well. There are many self-care strategies for one can use for better well being.
Most people don’t make taking care of themselves as an essential part of living. They don’t realise until they crush with anxiety, depression, fatigue or some other illness relating to poor self-care.
I am reminded of what happened to me three years ago. I was working so hard chasing deadlines that sometimes I only managed 3 hours sleep a night. I became very stressed and fatigued and I became irritable. The penny dropped when I got lost on my way to work. I missed a turn and I literally could not find my way. There are practical self-care strategies which one can use to maintain health and wellness.
Self-care can be different for people depending on the type of work you do or simple your day to day tasks of living.
Self-care strategies for live-in cares/care givers
Those who take care of others need to look after their health and well-being so they are in a better position to look after others. A carer needs to maintain health and well being as this will give them energy to be in a position to face what ever difficult situation in their work.
If you are already stressed it will be difficult to work in a stressful environment like caring for a client with dementia who has challenging behaviours. When I am not in the space mentally and health-wise I become very impatient and find things get to me easily. It is for this reason that when you care for others you need to take care of your needs
There are some practical actions a carer can take in order to make things better. They include the ones below but are not by any means exhausted to only these:
- Ask for help when you need it – Sometimes people tend to suffer in silence, however if you are struggling you need not be ashamed to ask for help as this helps you perform better for the safety of your client and yourself.
- Take time for yourself – Live in cares are 24/7 with a client but it is essential that they have break time to unwind and do what they like. This can be in the form of a break during the day and working a manageable pattern like 2 weeks in and 2 weeks out. I find there are some people who will go and live with a client for long periods. That is not healthy, you need to have space for self-care. For those taking care of loved ones themselves having them on respite for a period is a good alternative so they also can have time for themselves.
- Exercise, eat healthily and sleep well – Excessive, sleep and healthy are important. So taking walks is one of the free and relaxing form of exercise a carer can undertake. Eating healthy is important as it also encourages your client to eat healthy diet like you. Sleep is important as sleep deprivation leads to fatigue and you become prone to making mistakes which can impact badly on you and your client.
- Relax regularly – Me time is important as well. It helps you see things through a different perspective. I relax by reading the word of God and meditating on scripture pertaining to any situation I am facing and it really helps and keeps me calm.
- Keep up social contacts – Human beings are social animals. It is good and beneficial to keep in contact with friends and family even when away. We are fortunate that we live in the technological age and communication has been made easier so there is no excuse to keep isolated from family and friends.
You can read more here.
Self-care strategies for new mothers
Being a new mom is sometimes very challenging. Besides the anxiety of caring for this little being, less sleep and many other hundred things which need your attention, it becomes a struggle to take proper care of yourself. However, it is important to have time for self care because you won’t be able to care for this other person if you are tired, fatigued or stressed.
The common thing with most new babies is that they have their time zones the wrong way round. Most sleep during the day and cry at night. The mistake which most of us make is when they are asleep during the day we take it as time to other chores or important things which would have been neglected. The problem becomes even more compounded if you have other small children as well as you feel guilt if you think you are ignoring their needs and concentrating on the baby.
It is however important to take of your needs regardless because this will give you more energy and patience to take care of them. Give yourself some me time in between taking care of the kids. I was luck when I had my daughter because I had a support system around me. She was a day sleeper and cried at night. So during the day I had time to take a nap when she was asleep and did not need to worry about the different things which needed doing.
There are quite different things which you can do to keep yourself from battling under pressure.
- Keep a journal and write what ever you feel and what brings it on. This helps you to consciously avoid those of kind of situations and also you will have something to refer about what you did to help the situation.
- Take a luxurious bath this relaxes you and you will feel rejuvenated
- Try and catch some much sleep when baby is asleep is as well
- A walk in nature. I always swear by this, it calms and relaxes me and its worth trying
- Get more practical ideas
Self-care is very important not only for our physical health but also mental, emotional and well being. We function better when we are well and feel good about ourselves. We are in a better position to care for others if we take care for ourselves first. For some of us with all that is competing for our time attention and energy self-care seem can be an elusive luxury. It may seem selfish and indulgent to take a self care activities while there are things which nee doing.
The sobering thought is you won’t be able to do all those things if you are not well, tired lack concentration or stressed. You are of much value to yourself and others when you are the best of yourself. I will always recommend that people have some me time and indulge self-care.
You can also check out my favorite pampering bath products.