Self-care makes you a better caregiver. People who neglect their own needs risk low self-esteem, unhappiness, and feelings of resentment. Caregivers who only care for others without taking care of themselves run the risk of compassion fatigue. Taking time to care for your self is an effective way of managing stress. It is important for caregivers to engage in self-care on four levels:
- Do you get enough sleep?
- Are you exercising on a regular basis?
- Do you realize that good nutrition can impact your mood?
- Are you getting a good dose of sunlight each and every day?
- When is the last time you saw your doctor for a physical?
- What chronic illnesses or ailments are you experiencing?
- Are you limiting alcohol and avoiding cigarettes?
- Do you reserve some alone time each and every day?
- Do you know how to set boundaries?
- Do you feel you can say “no”?
- Do you feel you have processed past traumas or losses?
- Do you keep a journal to provide perspective and allow for emotional release?
- Are you able to recognize the signs and symptoms of stress and depression?
- Do you do things that challenge your creativity?
- Are you laughing?
- Do you feel you have a sense of contentment?
- Do you make time for spirituality?
- Do you meditate or pray or think about the things you are grateful for?
- Do you feel you have a sense of meaning and purpose?
- Can you draw strength from your faith?
- Do you feel you have a good balance between work and play?
- Can you turn to friends and colleagues for extra support?
- Have you pursued a creative interest or hobby?
- Are you making leisure time a priority?
- Have you considered volunteering or joining an organization?