As caregivers, we work hard every day to help make the lives of others better. Even though nothing can compare to the joy of making another person smile, sometimes all that hard work begins to wear down on our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It’s in these moments that we feel exhausted and completely drained.
If we don’t allow ourselves time to reset and rejuvenate our minds and bodies, soon our tiredness will begin to show in our work and affect the people we love and care for. We all live busy lives, and sometimes our own well-being comes second to the needs of others, but it’s vital that we always keep a close eye on our self-care. Here are four self-care activities caregivers can do to stay strong and keep up the good work.
- Take a Nap
One of the easiest ways for us to reset our bodies and minds is to simply lay down and take a quick nap. Napping provides a long list of benefits, and taking a small amount of time out of your daily schedule to sit back and close your eyes can rejuvenate you and keep you active and alert for the remainder of the day. Some cultures even have afternoon naps built into their daily routines.
- Get Up on Your Feet
Practicing self-care is more than just kicking back and relaxing. Getting up and moving our bodies is just as important as taking the time to lay down and rest for a while. As caregivers, we typically live active lifestyles. We do not waste any time as we constantly move around to meet the needs of those we care for. This constant motion requires us to be in good physical health. It’s hard to complete our job if we lack the endurance, strength, and flexibility; therefore, we should make it our objective to stay as reasonably fit as we can to meet the needs of our patients.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that we should become marathon runners. Something as simple as standing up and stretching can greatly improve our flexibility alone. Try some lower back and arm stretching, or even full-body stretching. It’s great for relieving stress and tension. There are many small exercises we can do in only a few minutes that can help us stay fit, so we can answer the call whenever we are needed.
- Read a Book Before Bed
From our first days attending school, we’ve been told again and again about the importance of reading. After all these years, the need for us to engage our minds through picking up books has never been more pertinent. Reading is an essential self-care activity that nurtures our mind and helps us keep our stress and anxiety in check.
Reading helps us detach from our daily stress and struggles, and escape to someplace new and exciting for us to explore. Reading also encourages our imagination. It makes us better problem solvers and engages our mind to consider new perspectives. Just reading for a short period before bed each night can give you the kind of mental break you need to digest from a long hard day of work.
- Invest in Social Time
All work and no play makes for a poor caregiver. If we spend all our time focused on our jobs as caregivers, we can become physically and mentally depleted. It’s important that we maintain balance as we go about our jobs, and sometimes that means putting away the work clothes and heading out with friends. By socializing, we give ourselves a chance to unwind and enjoy the other relationships we value in our lives.
Dedicating your life to serving others isn’t easy. By taking the time to invest in self-care, we enable ourselves to become better caregivers. As you go about your daily work of helping others live their best lives, never forget the importance of allowing yourself to live your own best life.