There are some life responsibilities that seem to take every moment you have. Parenting, caring for elderly parents, owning a business, and simply getting through the day are all necessary things we can’t ignore. Finding moments of peace to simply BE and care for ourselves doesn’t happen often enough. In fact, there are millions of women burning out right now. Caregiver burnout is one condition that sneaks up on you but can be devastating. It’s so important to make self-care a priority, especially if you are a full-time caregiver to children or elderly. Here are some ways you can put yourself first on the list!
Making the Decision to Put Yourself First
Self-care isn’t just about taking an occasional hot bath, a walk or nap. Though those things do help and are considered “self-caring” acts, there is more to it. First, we must make the firm decision to put our needs at the top of our “to-do” list or schedule. And, boy, can this one be like pulling teeth! Women, especially, don’t always comprehend the necessity of caring for themselves on a regular basis. The mind doesn’t even compute it, in some cases.
This solid choice to love yourself and do something to prove it is a commitment that should not be broken for any reason other than an extreme emergency. So, if some thoughts and beliefs need to change, get busy, girlfriend!
Say “No” More Often
Saying “no” more often is one of the most liberating things we women can do to slow down our hectic lives. If you are an extremely compassionate or caring person, this is even more imperative. I know it can be somewhat of a taxing transition to use that word when you almost always say “yes” to your loved ones and boss. But, hear me out…they will be OK! You will be more than OK when you actually have some time to yourself. Additionally, that guilt you feel will pass.
Take Care of Your Emotions
When you take care of everyone all the time, it’s easy to become more emotionally sensitive or stressed. Your emotions are delicate and need to stay in check to handle daily life and any added stressors created by job or family. Your loved ones need emotional support and kindness, but you do also.
Caring for your emotions means allowing yourself to feel and express everything. Even if you don’t have anyone handy to talk to, write down your thoughts in a journal. This helps to see things more clearly and download feelings that could be hurting your overall health.
Bottling up emotions will inevitably lead to an explosion in one way or another. Use coping techniques, such as yoga, meditation, journaling, counseling, or anything that works for you.
Take Care of Your Body
Finding physical balance or homeostasis can be tricky, especially if you aren’t used to taking care of your body. Keep in mind, true physical health and well-being takes time and consistent attention. In other words, you aren’t going to undo years of neglect in a week. Believe it or not, baby steps can make a big difference. I recommend starting with simple things like drinking more water and going to bed earlier.
Again, you will likely have to throw some “no’s” out there, so you can have some time to yourself for rest and relaxation. Even if you make time for a walk at least once a week, you will be doing yourself a huge favor. Focus on what you can do and not what you can’t with physical exercise and care.
Self-care is really a way of life and not just something you check off of a list. You will find doing things for yourself easier if you adopt this mentality. After all, no one else can make the decision to make your needs a priority.