Now that we’ve entered the new year, brainstorming different goals and intentions you can set for yourself is probably top of mind. After an eventful 2020, self-care should be at the top of your list when considering what priorities you should keep throughout 2021. While this goal is relevant to virtually everyone, caregivers especially should consider how they prioritize their own self-care this year.
When you’re responsible for taking care of the health of others, it can be easy to let that noble calling become an all-consuming force in your life — even at the risk of your own health. But you can’t forget to take care of yourself too. Whether you’re a professional caregiver working 9 to 5, a dedicated family member taking care of someone you love around the clock, or your caregiving responsibilities look a little different than what is typical, it’s vital to remember that your well-being matters as well. Here are three basic, proactive actions you can take to help ensure that the care you give doesn’t wear you down.
Add the Good
As a caregiver, you’re probably an expert at making sure the ones in your care get what they need, when they need it. So, why not do the same for yourself? Something as simple as penciling in a 10-minute walk every day after dinner or swapping cookies for apples on your grocery list may make a big difference in both long-term health and short-term attitude. Go ahead and sign up for that online class you’ve always wanted to take. Doing so can feel like a luxury, but prioritizing self-care with actions like these is truly a necessity
Subtract the Bad
Sometimes we need more than adding good habits to develop a better path towards well-being. This year, work on ditching some of your bad habits too! This could be as simple as opting for a book or podcast instead of scrolling endlessly on your phone, or as tough as quitting smoking. Another option? Try taking control of your environment by creating a cleaner and less cluttered space. Setting tasks like a closet clean out or a deep clean of your home can help set you up for success and a better mindset going into the new year. Could getting rid of unworn clothes or crossing off those annoying chores increase your overall well-being? Only one way to find out!
Don’t Go at It Alone
If you only take one thing away from this article, it should be this: It’s okay to ask for help before you need it. Think of it this way: you don’t start looking for a gas station when your tank’s empty — you fill up before you’re stranded on the shoulder of the road. Though asking for help can feel difficult and even uncomfortable, it’s a sign that you’re prioritizing your self-care and well-being. A proactive approach like this is important for you and those you care for, as it puts you in the best mental and physical state possible. If you’re feeling like your needle’s approaching empty, reach out and ask for help