10 Ways to Take Care for Yourself
Don't just make the time ... take the time.
Caring for yourself is about more than just scheduling the time in your calendar. It's about making a commitment to actually take the time to relax, grow or even just separate yourself from the chaos around you. The amount of time you dedicate is up to you, some people will require more than others. But however much time you need, make sure you follow through on it.
While not exhaustive, here's a list of 10 ideas on how to spend that time you've committed to yourself:
Just for you Your time doesn't have to be anything fancy. Make it easy by taking a few minutes each day to watch some TV, call a friend, or work on a hobby. The important part is to say to yourself: "This is my time to enjoy."
Get out of the house Go for a walk, do some yard work or sit on the deck by yourself or with your family. In today's bigger, faster, more society, it's nice to reconnect with yourself or your family every once in a while.
Exercise You don't have to commit to a rigorous workout or buy a year-long gym membership to be able to benefit from an exercise plan. Even light exercise such as walking, stretching, or dancing can make you less tired. Walk the dog, take the kids to the park or go for a light jog around the block. The important part is to get your heart rate up for a few minutes every day.
Make a date Dedicate an afternoon or evening every week to connect with your friends, partner or other people who are close to you. Go for coffee, see a movie, or go shopping. Whatever the activity, mark it on the calendar and let those around you know you you're busy every Tuesday from 7:00 - 9:00, for example.
Set a personal goal Whether it's learning a new skill such as woodworking or taking a course for personal or professional growth, share your goals with both your family and your employer. That way everyone knows you aren't available for carpooling or to cover a shift for someone at work.
Join a book club Collect some friends with similar literary interests and get together once every few weeks to discuss an agreed-upon choice. This is a two-in-one deal because you have to take time in between meetings to read the book and you have the social gathering to look forward to.
Choose a favourite TV show Get involved in someone else's drama. The benefit of regular programming is looking forward to the next episode each week, just in time to escape your own.
Join a team You don't have to be an Olympic all-star athlete to be part of a sports team. Call your local community centre or visit your municipal website to find a rec league that interests you in your area. Curling, bowling, basketball, the list goes on. The best part of being part of a team is that other people are counting on you so you're less likely to cancel out your "me time" in favour of being there for others.
Eat well After spending so much energy planning, organizing, shopping for and, in some cases, preparing meals for other people, it's easy to forget about your own nutritional needs. Yet a balanced nutrition plan provides you with the energy you need to keep up with the personal and professional demands in your life. Consult a nutritionist or dietician, or you can even surf the Internet, for creative ways to eat well and stay healthy.
Delegate Give yourself more time in general by delegating household chores evenly so you don't have to start work the minute you get home from work.
It's hard to make, and take, the time to care for ourselves. Whatever your pleasure, make sure you commit to it and make it a habit. You'll feel better about yourself and, more than likely, the people around you will feel better too.
Tell us your story. If you have any ideas or suggestions on how to care for the caregiver, contact us and we'll share your story with others in the community living sector by posting it on our website.