Author: Karen Copeland
Updated April 3, 2017: I have created a ‘wellness plan’ template that can be downloaded and customized. You will find it at the end of this post. ~Karen
Let’s talk about self-care. As caregivers, we are encouraged to make sure we take time for ourselves, to replenish our own reserves; because if we are struggling, how will we be able to help our children? Sometimes though, this idea of self-care seems easier said than done. We become so caught up in our daily responsibilities and commitments, we can feel like there is not even a moment for us to sit down with a cup of tea. It’s hard!
One summer, I became very overwhelmed. Very overwhelmed. My husband was away for the summer (as he usually is). I had little opportunity for “breaks” and it was a particularly challenging time with a number of issues going on. I was not good at taking time for myself. I had focused too much on my caregiver role, convincing myself I did not have any time or opportunity to do something for myself!
I CRASHED HARD!
It was ugly and it was frightening. This is not a place that I ever want to go again. I became and must continue to be more intentional about taking care of myself.
- Seeking out help from a counsellor
- Re-prioritizing my commitments – identifying key commitments as well as ones that I could set aside until I was feeling calmer
- Developing my own wellness plan in advance – taking the time to write down key things I can do or places I can go when I am feeling overwhelmed, so I don’t have to think of these in the moment
- Exploring the concept of mindfulness
- Not being afraid to say no. Learning to ask myself the question: will the world stop if we don’t do this activity today?
- Asking for help from friends and neighbors, being very purposeful to not isolate myself
- Regular physical activity
- Making time to do my hobby which is quilting
- Performing very simple random acts of kindness – holding the door open, letting someone go ahead of me in line, complimenting someone on their hairstyle, shoes, or clothing
- Ordering something completely different off a menu – this may seem like an odd stress management or self care strategy, however, when I do this I am showing myself that I am able to step outside my comfort zone. That I can get “un-stuck”.
What things do you do to take care of yourself? Please share in the comments section.
In the meantime, feel free to download and share my Top 5 Tips for Parents on what to do when you are feeling overwhelmed. You can also download and customize your own wellness plan! Don’t forget to check out all the Champions Top 5 tips here.
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