When was the last time you used an excuse to put off engaging in self-care?
Self-care is something that’s vital for family caregivers. It helps you to revitalize and recharge. And that’s something that helps you to better care for your loved one.
But still there are rumors and myths that exist related to being a family caregiver and having a regular self-care practice. That’s what I want to talk about today.
I have a FREE 10 Day Self-Care Challenge for Family Caregivers called Nurturing You. Click the button below for more information.
Myth #1: Self-Care Is Selfish
This is one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to self-care. Self-Care is NOT selfish. I’ll even go so far as to say NOT engaging in self-care is selfish.
Despite the fact that it’s called self-care, doesn’t mean that it’s only about you. Anyone that cares about you or that you care about is affected if you don’t take care of yourself.
Let me give you an example. Say you’re a caregiver to your aunt. She depends on you for housekeeping, meals, companionship and even personal care sometimes. Now, not taking care of yourself can mean that you find yourself being short tempered with her for no reason. More seriously, it can also mean that you get sick and can’t take care of your usual caregiving duties. So now your aunt may have to look at other alternatives for her needs.
There is no reason why you should feel guilt because of self-care.
Here’s a few other reasons why self-care isn’t selfish:
It’s vital to your well-being
If you don’t take care of yourself, you’re increasing your risk of developing physical and mental health issues brought on by stress. And make no mistake, stress is a killer.
By helping yourself, you help others
The happier and healthier you are, the more reserves you have and the more capable you are of helping your loved ones. It’s like the flight attendants say, you have to put your oxygen mask on first.
Your loved ones want you to take care of yourself
Those who truly love and care about you, want the best for you. And part of that is wanting you to be your best self. Which means practicing self-care. When you think about it that way, when you ignore your self-care, you are ignoring the wishes of your closest friends and family.
Myth #2: I Don’t Have Time For Self-Care
To this I say, you don’t have time to NOT engage in self-care. This goes back to some of the things that I was saying above. No self-care means more stress and more stress means you’re in danger of things like:
Changes In Appetite (eating too much or too little)
And in the end, those are things that will cost you more then taking the time now to engage in a bit of self-care.
Many times people feel like they don’t have time for self-care because they think of it as something that means lounging in a bathtub for hours. Or working out in the gym all day.
But it doesn’t have to be like that.
I have a FREE 10 Day Self-Care Challenge For Family Caregivers. It’s called Nurturing You. Click the button below for more information.
Self-care can fit into the time that you have. You can start small, with what I call mindful moments and go from there.
A mindful moment is a short, simple activity that’s designed to decrease stress and increase self-care. Doing a simple self-care activity one time won’t completely change your life, but over time, you can build on them until they become habits.
For example, if you’re having a day and feeling overwhelmed, try breathing deeply for 5 minutes to help calm yourself. Or if you have a lot of muscle tension due to stress, try taking a short, brisk walk or dancing for a few minutes.
Here’s a list of a few short and easy self-care activities that you can try to create your own mindful moments:
Progressive muscle relaxation
Read for 30 minutes or less
Chat with a friend
Admire the beauty of a vase of flowers
Play with your pet for a few minutes
Drink a glass of water
Inhale the scent of your favorite candle
All of these are things that you can easily do throughout the day even when you have a lot of responsibilities.
Myth #3: Self-Care Is Too Expensive
The final myth I’m covering today is the cost of self-care. Yes, as with anything in life, if you’re looking for expensive ways of dealing with your stress, you can find them – 3 hour hot stone massage anyone?
But that doesn't mean that you can’t find free or low-cost ways of managing your stress and engaging in self-care.
Your excuses end today! Here’s a list of 20 free or low-cost activities that you can do for self-care:
Call or text a friend/family member
Listen to your favorite music
Listen to an audio book
Listen to a podcast
Sing your favorite song (whether or not you can sing 😊)
Buy a bouquet of your favorite flowers
Light a scented candle
Exercise (in the home or outside)
Enjoy a mug of your favorite warm beverage
Drink a glass of water
So you see, self-care does NOT have to be expensive. The only thing that self-care HAS to be is a part of your everyday life.
You can do it. It’s all about Making Time.
Don’t forget to check out my FREE 10 Day Self-Care Challenge, Nurturing You.
Let’s talk. What excuse have you used in the past to not engage in self-care? Let me know in the comments.
Cassandra Martin-Himmons, LMSW is a stress management coach and content creator who believes in empowering her clients to help them manage their stress and increase their self-care. In her spare time she enjoys papercrafting, hand embroidery and travel. Connect with her on Instagram or YouTube.