Self-Care for Caregivers

Wendy Spoon, Oklahoma LEND Trainee, Parent/Family Discipline

February 8, 2021

Caregiving can be hard.  Being a caregiver to a child, friend, or family member with a disability or a chronic illness can be stressful at times.  I am sure that you've heard the old adage that, "You must take care of yourself before you can take care of someone else."  Easier said than done, right?  It may sound like an out dated platitude, but as caregivers, we need to carve out time for ourselves.  It can be as little as five minutes in your day to do something to boost your spirits so that you don't feel overwhelmed. 

Here are a few ideas to help you make that "me moment" count:

Daily Self-Care

  • Read a book for 20 minutes.
  • Enjoy a cup of hot tea or coffee.
  • Stroll through your neighborhood.
  • Take time to work out, do yoga, or meditate.
  • Watch a sunrise or sunset.
  • Listen to a podcast. 

Monthly Self-Care

  • Dinner date with your partner or friend.
  • Get a massage.  Keep a standing appointment.
  • Soak in the tub once a week.  Use Epsom salts, bubble bath, or a bath bomb.
  • Have a  movie night.  Watch an 80's movie, a musical, or a laugh out loud comedy.
  • Join a book club, Bunco group, or support group that meets regularly. 
  • Volunteer at a local non-profit.

Yearly Self-Care

  • Go on a getaway.  Spend at least one night away from home at a hotel in the city, a bed and breakfast in the suburbs, or a nice quiet cabin at the lake.
  • Buy that outfit you've been eyeing.  You will enjoy it every time you wear it.
  • Finish that home improvement project you putting off.  You will feel accomplished.

These are just a few ideas.  There are so many things you can do to make time for you.  The idea is to make yourself a priority so that you can be in the right state of mind and health to caregive for others.  For me, when starting my day, I fix my hair and put on dangly earrings.  When styling my hair, I use bright colorful barrettes, clips, and scrunchies.  I adorn my ears with earrings that sway as I move.  I have everything from Route 66 earrings, earrings with gummy bears, and even a pair with a vintage picture of my grandma on them.  Taking these few minutes for myself and wearing hair accessories and fun earrings are enjoyable to me and it is a few moments of my day that is all about me.  I am caring for myself to be a better caregiver to others.  There is no right or wrong.  Find that something that helps you start your day or end your day well.  And take those moments throughout the day, when you can, as you need them.  Make the monthly and yearly goals a priority. Do for yourself so you can be your best you as you caregive.  Best wishes on your self-care journey!