The holidays can be a difficult time for caregivers. Between increased responsibilities, tighter budgets and even the lack of sunlight, self-care is more important during this time of year than any other. We often see symptoms of burnout in this community, and the added stress of the holidays may only make this worse.
Why is self-care important?
As caregivers, we’re always busy, juggling our own responsibilities alongside those of our loved one. The holidays only make this more difficult, as the ongoing responsibilities of care are interspersed with family visits, holiday events or our care recipient’s loneliness.
We can only provide care and serve others if we care for ourselves first. In order to be our best, we need to be strong and well-rested. Self-care is ultimately one of the most important parts of caring for another person.
What are the benefits of self-care?
When we are well-rested and in better physical condition, we aren’t just capable of performing our care responsibilities at a higher level. In many cases, caregivers who take time for self-care often feel better about themselves, too.
When we feel better about ourselves, we’re capable of adjusting to our circumstances better than we would be able to otherwise. The healthier outlook self-care provides gives us an armor that can help protect against the more difficult elements of caring for someone we love.
Despite the importance of self-care, many caregivers may find themselves without a clear path to practicing it. Here are a few of the self-care techniques we practice.
1. Get enough sleep each night. Sleep isn’t just important for your physical health, it’s an important way to reduce stress and anxiety as well.
2. Eat a balanced diet. Just like the people you care for, you also need to receive the right nutrients and fuel that your body needs to perform its best every day.
3. Invest in your physical health. Above all, physical health is critical for caregivers. It’s not just the physically-intense tasks that we may sometimes be required to take on. The additional stress that poor physical health can pile onto us when we’re already be dealing with difficult situations can be overwhelming. As caregivers, we should take some time out of our weeks to invest in our physical health as well.
These are just a few of the baseline ways we can start to take care of ourselves and exercise self-care in our lives. But it’s easy for these activities to feel out of reach, especially during the holidays.
Find Time for Self-Care
One of the best ways we can find opportunities for self-care during the holidays is to simply make the time. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Be sure to let the person you’re caring for know that this time spent investing in yourself will benefit them. Self-care is never selfish and should be a priority.