Best Practices for Self-Care
Emotions can run high and vary. They can hit at a rapid pace throughout your journey. That’s why self-care is a necessity. You may already feel as though it’s hard to find the time to care for yourself. We’re here to help and have compiled a list of ways that will allow you to make time for you.
The best suggestion we can give is to ensure you schedule and commit to doing things for yourself from time to time. This not only helps you balance appointments but holds you accountable for booking “me time”. Looking after yourself keeps you healthier and, subsequently, more able to care for your loved one.
Physical activity will help keep you balanced and healthy. Start your day by incorporating a 15-20 minute walk in the morning. This is a free activity and you can select your own route. Remember to wear a high-visibility vest and bring a flashlight with you if you prefer to walk at night-time. If you can do it alone, all the better, but if your situation doesn’t allow for that, bring your loved one along with you. You can venture to a nearby park or visit the local library as an added bonus.
This kind of activity helps to keep your muscles, bones and joints strong and flexible, which is a requirement for handling your loved one and maneuvering their equipment around.
In the afternoon while they’re resting, catch up with a good book or a hobby for an hour. Journaling or blogging are also great outlets, helping you to re-charge for the rest of the day, or to link up with friends, old and new.
Your evenings can be filled with making dinner and setting up for bath time, playtime, or bedtime routines. When you’ve taken care of those household duties, take time to watch your favorite TV show. You may also want to meditate or do yoga, or some other form of physical activity before you go to bed to help you unwind.
Joining a group is also an effective way to be social all your own. Generally, groups or associations will meet weekly, or even once a month, so it can be easier to manage and plan your time accordingly.
Support is the key word here. You need to establish a strong and trusted group of people who you can confide in during the highs and lows. Groups are great for this support but so are family and friends. Skype, FaceTime, or similar programs are good ways to keep in touch with friends and maintain those support networks.
No matter what kind of day you’re having, ensure you always know that you can pick-up the phone, meet someone for coffee, or even go on an overnight adventure to help you keep in touch with your support circle.
Your network should also include the team of clinicians and other support workers who are helping care for your loved one. Feel empowered to ask questions and lean on them for support because, chances are, someone else they are caring for is also dealing with similar issues, so they will have good advice to offer - you never have to feel alone.