When you care for others, whether as a professional caregiver or as an informal caregiver, sometimes your own care becomes a secondary concern. If you’ve ever taken a plane somewhere, you know that part of the safety presentation is that if oxygen masks are needed that you should put on your own mask before helping someone else. But when it comes to regular caregiving, we sometimes forget to put on our “oxygen masks” – that is, to make sure that we’re doing the things that we need to do to take care of ourselves.
By now you know that the effects of neglecting your own needs can be serious. We’ve written before about some good ways to practice self-care for caregivers, but with how busy things can get when you care for others, it can be difficult to remember to pause and take care of yourself. Here are some ideas that you can use to remind yourself to practice good self-care.
Set Up Notifications On Your Phone
Most phones are equipped with a clock or calendar application that you can use to set up recurring reminder to yourself. This is a great way to nudge you to do daily activities like journaling, exercising, reaching out to friends or family, or taking your own medications (after all, sometimes we’re better at remembering medications for those we care for than for ourselves). It’s also great for weekly and monthly care reminders.
Leave Notes For Yourself
Some self-care practices are things that you need to do in intervals throughout the day, though the time between repetitions may not be fixed. A simple sticky note can remind you to take a moment to breathe and reflect, drink a glass of water, or to assess your physical needs such as hunger. Leave these visual reminders to yourself in places you’ll regularly look at. This could be on the edge of a monitor, on a refrigerator, or next to a Smart Caregiver Central Monitor. Anywhere that you regularly come back to makes a good candidate for a sticky note reminder.
There’s no shame in giving yourself a treat every once in a while! Set goals for self-care and reward yourself when you hit them. For example, let’s say your goal is to journal about your experiences every day for a month. After you’ve hit that goal, get a tasty treat or a little present for yourself. Positive reinforcement works far better than beating yourself up for not doing what you feel you “ought to.”
Make It A Habit
After using these reminders for a while, self-care practices like journaling, meditation and other regular care tactics should become habitual. Just think of them like showering or brushing your teeth – they’re things you need to do regularly to help keep your mind and spirit in the best shape it can be. After all – if you are a caregiver, you must first give care to yourself.
If you need help getting things off your plate so you can focus on caregiving – both for those you care for and self-care – give Soundview Medical Supply a call. We’ve been in business caring for caregivers here in the Pacific Northwest for over 15 years, providing the very best in incontinence care and simplifying life for those who care for others through convenient prescription services, next-day delivery, and more!