Caring for the Caregiver: 7 Self-Care Ideas That Take Minimal Time
When you put all your focus on caring for your loved one, taking care of your family and keeping up with everything else, it's all too easy to put your needs on the back burner. Caregiving can leave you physically and emotionally drained. The stress can lead to burnout and health problems down the road.
That's why it's so important for you to take time for self-care. With these seven quick ideas, you can fit a little self-care into any day, no matter how busy you might be!
Take 3 Deep Breaths
Did you ever notice how your breath changes when you're stressed? It becomes shallow, which creates a cycle of stress. Stress causes you to breathe shallowly, breathing shallowly amps up your stress levels. When you feel like things are getting to be a bit much, stop and take a minute to yourself. Breathe slowly in through your nose, feeling your stomach expand. Breathe slowly out of your mouth. Repeat two more times. Not only will it help reduce stress, this type of breathing can also lower blood pressure, reduce your heart rate, and give you an energy boost.
Get a Little Sun
Open the blinds, lift the shades, draw back the drapes. Getting as little as five minutes of sunlight gives you a vitamin D boost, which can help support healthy serotonin levels for better moods and improved focus. If you can, get a little sunlight with your loved one so you can both enjoy the benefits.
Reflect on Five Things That Weren't Awful
Even on the worst days you should be able to find five things that were positive. Taking a few minutes to identify them at the end of your day can help put things into perspective. This is a quick way to practice gratitude. Some days you might be thankful to have two legs and a working vehicle. Other days, you'll find new things to be grateful to have.
Once a week or once a day take a few minutes to make yourself a list of goals. Write down everything you need to get done and the things you'd like to achieve. These can be personal goals, such as wanting to get 10 minutes of exercise every day. Or they could be related to your caregiving tasks or other responsibilities. Writing it down helps you get clear about what you need to do to reach your goals. Being able to cross things off the list as you accomplish them feels like a win every time.
Have a Dance Party
You're so busy taking care of your loved one and keeping up with the demands of the rest of your life that it's easy to forget about the importance of having a little fun. Thankfully, you don't need more than three to five minutes or so to have yourself a little dance party. Crank up the stereo or put on a pair of headphones. Play your favorite song and give yourself a few minutes to dance it out.
Do a Quick Meditation
In just five minutes you can reap the benefits of meditation. It can relax your body and mind while reducing stress levels. It's also a great way to start a meditation practice, gradually working your way up to longer periods if you can squeeze them in. There are guided meditation apps available that walk you through the process and help make it easier.
Give Yourself a Break
Take a time-out. Turn off your phone. Unplug and get away from everything, even if it's just for a few minutes. Better yet, take 30 and go for a brisk walk. No matter how busy you are, it's essential to carve out a little time just for you.