Taking Care of Yourself
Think of the areas of your life and decide which area needs to be nurtured first. Here are some suggestions:
As a Caregiver: Make a list of the errands that need running, such as: items to be picked up at a store or dry cleaner, repairs or maintenance for the house or car, or medication to be picked up. Keep this list by the telephone, and when someone offers their assistance, give them a task from the list. You will both feel better.
Your relationship with a "significant other": Write down 20 things your partner can do for you when you are having a bad day. The next time you are feeling down, your partner can go to your list and actually do something that will help.
Your body: Every time you start to feel stressed out, take 10 slow, deep breaths. Do a few neck rolls and a quick self-massage of your shoulders.
Your role as parent or child: Do something silly with your parent or your kids or both that you used to do when you were little, such as making fudge, having a snowball fight or dancing in your living room.
Your friends and siblings: No matter how busy and crazy your life, call a friend and make a plan to have a night out. Even if you only go out for a pizza, make sure that you get a chance to talk about how you are feeling about your life. If you cannot get out, call and chat with an old friend -- or make a new one!
Your job: Find a way to listen to music while you work. Maybe listen on headphones, play a CD in your computer or plug a radio in nearby. Just make sure this doesn't conflict with your company's policy.
Relaxation and enjoyment: Can you think of an experience, a time or place that you thoroughly enjoyed. What can you do to recreate that time, place or experience? What can you do to relax? Watching an hour of television at the end of your day may pass the time into exhausted slumber, but do you really relax and enjoy it? Do you feel better?
Spirituality: Think back to spiritual practices of your childhood and decide which ones still feel comfortable (if any), and be creative in exploring new ones. Go to a different church one Sunday or learn a new prayer or affirmation.
What we all need to do is to learn to care for ourselves without feeling guilty about it. Remember that caring for yourself will make you a better caregiver, spouse, parent, child, friend, sibling, coworker, etc.
Every morning when your alarm goes off, spend one minute in bed deciding what you are going to do for yourself that day. Ideas include buying yourself a great piece of fruit, calling a good friend to just schmooze, practicing a relaxation technique, eating a piece of chocolate guilt-free or just daydreaming!
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