It’s those who dedicate their lives to the care of others that often forget (or don’t find the time) to properly look out for themselves. The role of a carer is varied and diverse but can also mean some odd shift patterns that lend themselves to disturbed sleep and unhealthy eating habits. It can also be taxing mentally and emotionally. This is why we’re so in awe of our carers, and all those in the industry!
It’s easy to neglect your own needs when you’re juggling this role and your own home life, but doing this eventually leads to stress and burnout, so carving out moments in your day to look after yourself is vital for both your physical and mental health.
So, we’ve put together a few self-care tips that you can weave into your daily and weekly routine.
Alone, in a group, with the dog – whatever works! Not only is it exercise, but getting out and moving plus the fresh air is great for the body and the mind.
2. Have a bath
Really simple, but hugely effective! Set up your bathroom for optimum relaxation – bubbles, salts, candles and chilled music. This is a great way to release muscle tension and decompress after a long day.
To your mum, your sister, your uncle, your friends – anyone! In some cases, it may be worth talking to your doctor or another professional. It’s a great way to get things off your mind, share the load, and oftentimes, you’ll get some great advice, shared stories, or a professional opinion if needed.
4. Go ‘dark’
Put down your phone and iPad, shut off the TV, and steer clear of screens for a bit. This is an especially good idea just before bed – there’s a bunch of research proving that looking at screens too close to bedtime is super detrimental to a great night’s sleep. Switch them out for a book, podcast, or spend the time you’d normally spend in front of a screen with your family.
Many swear by meditation, and it comes in many forms. We’ve heard good things about Headspace, which is a mobile app that offers guided meditation for beginners.
6. Eat right
When you’re on the go, as carers often are, it can be tough to eat right. Ensuring you eat a good breakfast is a great start, but even just carrying fruit with you will ensure you’re getting some of your 5-a-day and the goodness that comes with that.
7. Spend time with friends
Arranging to spend time having fun with friends is a great way to destress – laughter is the best medicine,
8. Drink more water
Trying to drink at least 2 litres of water a day can feel like a mountainous task, but it’s well worth it. Invest in a water bottle to help you keep track of your intake and reap the benefits – staying hydrated helps increase energy, prevent headaches, and boost mood!
This, again, comes in many forms and is all about what works for you. You don’t need to spend 2 hours a day in the gym to hit this criteria! Do what you enjoy – walking, cycling, jogging, yoga, or a class. Get your friends and family involved too – it’s easier when you’re motivating each other.
10. Listen to a podcast
Podcasts are a great way to relax. Pick a genre, and find one that suits you! The Guardian has published a great guide to the best podcasts of 2018 if you need inspiration!
11. Use your support system
If you’re struggling, talk to your friends and family, and accept any offers of help. Be that childcare, cooking, or just a shoulder to cry on. Make the most of your network when you need it.
12. Treat yourself to something new
Buying yourself something nice as a reward is a great way to motivate yourself. Be it clothing, a new book, or just a giant bar of chocolate – treat yourself to something that’s going to bring you some joy! You could even bring it in line with your other self-care activities – a new running top is a great motivator to get you back out there.
13. Have your favourite meal
Yes, eat right and take care of yourself. But sometimes, the only thing that’s going to hit the spot is your favourite meal, and if that’s a ginormous burger and chips then so be it.
There’s loads of ways to ‘self-care’, and to be honest, it’s very much an individual thing. Hopefully at least one tip on this list is useful to you but if not, it’s worth taking another look – perhaps some could be adapted to suit you and your lifestyle better?
Do you have a self-care go-to, or a handy tip? Please share it with us!