Family caregivers work tirelessly to give their loved ones a better quality of life. August is Wellness Month, and it’s a great time to remind caregivers to take a step back and think about their own wellness. Too many caregivers put themselves last, and this is especially true as we all add in new Covid-19 safety procedures, which can be physically and mentally exhausting. Remember that you can only be fully present for your loved one when you’re taking proper care of yourself.
Here are some ways that caregivers can focus on themselves this August. Most of these tips involve developing new routines that you can carry forward all year.
Self-Care at the Start of the Day
Some people jump out of bed, have a quick shower, and head to work, sometimes without even eating! While it may seem convenient to sleep in later, not taking time to focus on yourself in the morning can contribute to burnout. While you’re still fresh from sleep, use your mornings to treat yourself. Here are some ideas:
- Healthy breakfast: How filling and healthy is your morning breakfast? Try one of these recipes from Real Simple designed to give yourself the energy you’ll need for a busy day ahead.
- Brain activity: Some people like to wake up with crossword puzzles, Sudoku, or a hobby they enjoy that engages their brain.
- Affirmations: When you’re alone with yourself in front of the mirror, say a few positive affirmations about yourself, or how well your day will go, to get off on the right foot.
Self-Care During Breaks
Whether you’re at work or at home, breaks are important. Here are a few things you can do to focus on recharging your batteries during your breaks:
- Breathe: Take a moment to breathe and release any stress or tension that may have built up.
- Stretch: Taking a little time to move can help you feel energized. Few people want to work up a sweat during a break but stretching is a great alternative.
- Comfort: Part of relaxing is being comfortable! If you’re sitting during your break then have pillows, blankets or a footstool nearby.
- Drinks: Many people neglect their hydration. Take the time to grab some cold water or make yourself a tea or coffee during your break.
Re-connect with Others, Safely
Valiantly, many caregivers have limited their access to their friends with the goal of protecting the seniors they care for from Covid-19. However, we’re a social species. Humans are not meant to go six months without face-to-face contact with each other. Being so secluded can be more detrimental to your health than you expect, especially for caregivers who rely on those friends for much needed emotional support.
Consider taking some time during Wellness Month to connect with friends in-person, safely. Visits outside, with face coverings and use of sanitizer are great ways to limit the chances of contracting Covid-19. Here are some ways to do so:
- Meet on the porch: You can connect with friends and family on your porch, deck or patio space. Use your outdoor seating and serve some refreshments to make an event of it.
- Hit the trail: Hiking is a great, healthy activity to enjoy with friends – you can chat in person while getting some exercise.
- Outdoor arenas: Some summer events like farmer’s markets are still being held in open-air arenas, where you’re much less likely to catch Covid-19 than in an enclosed space.
- Patio spaces: In many areas, restaurants have opened up their patio spaces safely, so go ahead and book a lunch with an old friend!
Be sure to follow health directives and care for yourself by putting your wellness high on your priority list. Doing so will help you remain in good physical and mental health so that you’re better able to care for others in your life.