I momentarily forgot that self-care is crucial for caregivers. I’m a caregiver to both my husband and my mother. Certainly, it is easy to get caught up in the needs of others, forgoing your own.
A Definition of Self-Care
One definition is any activity that nurtures and refuels you at a deep level. There are many areas of our lives where we can practice self-care. Often we think first of our physical body. Similarly you can practice self-care in other areas; your emotional and mental state, your relationship with yourself, relationships with others, spiritual beliefs and even work.
Some Examples of Self-Care
- Getting enough quality sleep
- Daily time outdoors
- Free Writing
- Nature Walks
- Meditation and Prayer
- Engaging the senses
- Doing something important to you
- Goal Setting
- Boundary Setting
- Learning New Skills
- Time with friends
- Time with children
Signs That I Needed More Self-Care
I wear a Fitbit, which tracks my sleep patterns and my resting heart rate. Most noteworthy was the dramatic increase in my resting heart rate from 67 to 74 in just eight days. While the resting heart rate was soaring, my quality of sleep rating plummeted to the 60’s.
My Method of Self-Care
It had been months since I had walked the paths of my favorite public garden Bok Tower Gardens . On the morning of that eight day of increased resting heart rate, I told my husband I was going to spend time walking before I performed errands for him and my mom.
I was benefiting multiple areas of my life in this one act of self-care. My physical body was experiencing time outdoors. Nature walks are a form of meditation for me, boosting my spiritual care. By engaging my senses during the walk, I lifted my relationship with myself. Finally, I had a chance encounter with a friend along the path and enjoyed a lovely conversation, adding the self-care of relationships with others.
Measurable Positive Results
In the five days since I went for my self-care walk, my resting heart rate dropped each day and is now at 68. My sleep score for the same five days now has an average of 80. I feel rested, calm, and was able to meet a writing deadline in addition to this blog.
A Challenge for You
Whether you take care of your family, your pets, or just yourself, self-care is crucial. I challenge you to find at least one way you can do something just for you, something that makes you smile, that makes your heart sing. Life is short. Take care of yourself. Love yourself.