Barbara has her hands full with 4 children and her job as a health coach as well as being a caregiver for her disabled fiance. It’s easy to neglect yourself if you’re a caregiver to so many others. Learn how Barbara was able to sneak in moments of self-care while caring for so many others. She shares her caregiver self care tips below.
Do you feel like you are suffering from caregiver burnout? It can be draining and stressful taking care of others, whether it’s just because you have a large family or are caring for someone with a chronic illness.
I can relate-I too have a lot going on in my life! Between taking care of my family and working at my job as a health coach, I found that I was feeling burnout and neglecting my own health and wellness. But eventually, I started taking charge, and trying to prioritize my own health. Read on to learn my caregiver self care tips on how to maintain balance and prioritize wellness in your own life. Try them to find out why self care as a caregiver is crucial to living your best life.
I was so busy helping everyone find their balance, but I had a hard time taking care of myself
I’m a single mom of four with a disabled fiance who was injured in the line of duty as a first responder for Rescue One in New York City. My two oldest daughters do not live at home, but between my fiancé and I, we have 9 children. When it comes to running my own practice as a health coach, I’ve been finding it hard to keep going with such a busy family life. There’s a lot around the house that needs to be done that my fiance, John, cannot do himself, so I take care of most things.
In July of 2006, John was hit by a taxi cab while on the job, losing his right leg above his knee and severely damaging his left leg. He also suffered from some peripheral eye damage because of the amount of blood he lost.
More than 10 years later, John still suffers from pain and limited mobility from his injuries. I take care of anything he may need. We have a regular routine; we cook together when he’s able to stand using his prosthetic leg, though I do the majority of the cleaning, laundry, and other household duties. When he has the strength, he tries his best to help out. Every day is different, but we always spend a lot of time together for the sake of his mobility.
I don’t mind caring for everyone, yet sometimes I feel worn down and just wish I had time to rejuvenate. I feel it’s my place to take care of everyone, but I know I need to care for myself as well. I’m usually so preoccupied with family life that work life takes the back seat.
How I Have Prioritized Self-Care
Recently, though, I’ve decided I need to take control of my life and practice more self-care. I know my family needs me, but most importantly they need me to be healthy and feeling good about myself. Otherwise, I can’t be there for them. Here’s what I’ve done to take care of myself and my physical and emotional well-being, and my suggestions to you on how to practice self-care:
Create a serenity space to help reset, refocus and relax
To help with destressing, I’ve created a serenity space in my home in our master bedroom. There’s a diffuser for my essential oils, candles for calm lighting, a reading nook with my favorite chair and lamp, an Alexa Echo for music, and a fireplace. This is our clutter-free space to go when the day gets a bit hectic. I love our new haven in our new home. It’s truly ours to enjoy and relax in.
Try creating a serenity space of your own! The serenity space can be anywhere in the home; it’s all under your discretion as to where is best. Fill it with essential oils or whatever works for you to help destress and get away from your troubles. Try meditation or yoga in your new serenity zone!
I’ve found that changing my mindset can make a big difference
Do yourself the favor of practicing the art of not taking anything personally as well. This is something that I can say I’ve been working on for a while. It leads to a lot less stress. Just do things that make you happy, and try to not think too much about everything every once in a while. Even just a few minor changes in your day or even your week can make a difference.
I never saw myself as someone who needed to be taken care of because that was my job. I take care of others. But I’ve learned I need to be taken care of too. I owe this to myself and so do you. Luckily, I belong to a network of health coaches, and we support one another during bad or stressful times.
Try to find a community or support group that can help you. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help!
The Mindful Health Retreat
The Mindful Health retreat sponsored by Nicole Glassman of Mindful Health, is a weekend long Wellness Retreat that provides support to caregivers and cancer patients/survivors by offering meditation, yoga, sound healing, and nutrition education. Selected participants are able to attend free of charge, thanks to donations and the support of Mindful Health.
When I learned about this program, I decided to take my own advice about asking for help, and I applied to the Mindful Health retreat. After I found out I had been chosen, my fiance bought me the plane ticket and I was incredibly overwhelmed with emotion. I am so looking forward to the opportunity to rest, refocus and relax!
I feel we can always grow and learn, so I am excited to learn new ways to care for myself. If you are interested in learning more or applying to the next Mindful Health retreat, you can learn more here.
In the meantime, I hope you will make time for self-care now. Your needs are just as important as those around you. Even little improvements in your lifestyle and mindset can help you feel your best, both physically and emotionally. This way you can be stronger and more supportive to your loved ones!
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