Google “self-care” and 651,000 search results surface. (Those numbers would seem to indicate it is a hot topic.) There are lots of people giving advice. And, it isn’t the same advice.
So what is key? (A search for “keys to self-care” leads to only 31,000 results.) There are some basics: food, sleep, exercise … Yet, in my opinion, that depends on you.
The only key we share is the need to listen to ourselves, our bodies. When we listen or attend to ourselves then we know what are unique needs are.
Your needs for nutrition may differ from mine. The amount of sleep you require may vary with the day or season. The form of exercise that best suits your body may be different from mine.
I am serious – your self-care may not look like my self-care. We need to embrace this idea. And we need to support in ourselves as caregivers along with the lives of those for whom we provide care.
Let’s be honest – none of us ALWAYS listens to ourselves and our needs for self-care. We all give in from time to time. We stay up later than we should because we want to finish a project. We skip our exercise to attend an event. We eat the cookie instead of the apple.
For me, the challenge is supporting those for whom we provide care in being good listeners to themselves along with supporting their self-care efforts. Consider a couple examples:
- A child may be showing signs of being tired but doesn’t wish to give in to sleep.
- An elder may really want a large hot fudge sundae which doesn’t jive with their need to control sugar as they are diabetic.
How do we as caregivers support them in self-care?
Share your answer in the comments below.