There are many things I’ll discuss in the Love in Action blog but the first and most important lesson I have learned is that you absolutely MUST take care of yourself.
And if you are a caregiver, it’s even more important. Because as a caregiver you have people who are counting on you and there are no such things as sick day.
A friend of mine once told me about an exercise her workplace used. The managers had everyone write down three things to think about or to do that would hold them together in a moment of crisis. They also recommended that their employees keep it close by.
It’s a wonderful idea. It helps ground you, and keep you focused when you are feeling stressed.
Here are some other ideas:
- Improvise and make your reminder a funny meme, a poem, song lyrics, or a prayer
- Create a mission statement that is your truth as you go through the journey of trying to take care of everyone
- Compose a line or two, telling yourself to remember to not take everything so seriously
- Or my personal favorite—try to figure out how to use humor and kind words to get out of a tricky situation
The statistics about caregiving and the wear and tear it takes on our body, mind and soul are daunting. You can read more about the issues in this article on Caregiver.org.
It is VITAL that you take care of yourself—medically, mentally, physically, spiritually. The smallest things help, even if you just read a silly magazine to distract yourself or a good mystery. One of my favorite things is rewatching my favorite movies or TV shows. I don’t even watch them closely, but having them on in the background is comforting to me.
If that isn’t your thing then maybe a walk in a nearby park or even around the house or the office building will give your brain a minute or two off from everything to just BE and allow yourself to breathe.
Everyone has various senses that have a greater effect on them than some of the others. Today, take 5 minutes out of your day, grab a piece of paper and pen or your phone or laptop and create 5 columns or 5 lists. The headings should be: Taste, Touch, Sound, Sight, Smell. And under each I want to you list all your favorite things that you can think of that bring you joy.
Is it reading a book? That’s sight. Is it having incense, a candle, diffuser or a plug in wafting lovely smells that brings a smile and comfort? Do you get seriously psyched when you have a really comfy and soft shirt on? Or are you a foodie and live for tasting menus at your local favorite restaurant?
This list is part of figuring out who you are and what things bring you the most joy in life, the things that are in your control most of the time. Then, when you are having a tough day, or just feeling down, frustrated, etc, then go to this list and pick a few do-able things that are possible wherever you are at the moment.
It’s these little things that can make a huge difference in keeping your mindset neutral when you are tired, or having one of those days. And yes, I really believe that doing this deep dive for your Loved One that you are caring for can make a huge difference in their lives too. I’ll be talking more on sensory care in the near future. But for now, please take the five minutes and make your list.
It can come in handy when you least expect it and when you need it most.