What is self-care and why is it so important?

A commonality among that I meet with is that they seldom have time for self-care. A Caregiver Specialist may ask you during a visit, “What are some activities that you enjoy doing?” A Caregiver Specialist will ask questions like this to not only get to know you but also to help find ways to ensure that a caregiver is also taking the time to care for themselves, as it will promote a healthy life balance physically and emotionally.

Caregiver's that I meet with will often hesitate and pause in response to this question, stating “Well, I used to enjoy…” Caregivers often feel overwhelmed with everything that they need to do on a daily basis to care for their loved ones. They may feel a sense of guilt about taking some time for themselves.

During a caregiving visit, not only will the Caregiver Specialist listen, counsel and provide support, but also discuss the importance of self-care, the wellness benefits that self-care will have and help brainstorm ways to fit time for self-care in your schedule. Self-compassion is essential to self-care.

What is self-care?

  • The practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.
  • The practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness.

According to Raphailia Michael, in a blog post on the psychcentral.com website, “Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although it’s a simple concept in theory, it’s something we very often overlook. Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety. It’s also key to a good relationship with oneself and others.”

Think about the activities that you enjoy, or ones you may have used to enjoy doing. Take a look at your weekly schedule; find openings of time where you can take even 5 to 10 minutes a day to engage in these activities which will also help reduce stress promote positivity and offer positive physical and emotional benefits to your well-being. In addition, be sure to remind yourself that it is OK to take time for you. Remind yourself that you have the right to take care of yourself. It is not an act of selfishness and it will give you the capability to take better care of your loved one.

Here are some suggested self-care activities:

  • Practice simple breath awareness for 10 minutes a day.
  • Try a mind-body practice like yoga, tai chi, meditation, and deep relaxation techniques.
  • Enjoy sitting quietly with a cup of tea and a good book.
  • Get Moving, physical activity such as going on a walk, or even 10 minutes of exercise a day
  • Gardening, or bird watching
  • Make eating well and getting quality sleep priorities.
  • Remain socially connected. Find support through local caregiver .