We are often so busy taking care of others family, friends, co-workers, etc. that we lose ourselves in the process. When we forget to care for ourselves, the quality of what we do in the world suffers. Especially for family caregivers, the adult child seems to be the one who becomes the most exhausted and frustrated in his or her attempts to maintain a normal life balance.
It can be hard to accept that self-care is not the same as being selfish. If you care for yourself to the exclusion of everyone around you, then yes, that is narcissistic. But if you include yourself in the caring equation, then you not only are able to give to others from a healthy foundation, but the joy in your care will be much greater.
Here are tips for self-care, no matter what your state of health is at the moment:
Believe that optimum wellness is possible, and that your body has the inner guidance system to make it so.
Listen to your body's symptoms and pay attention to its messages about health and healing. Its inner wisdom will guide you to greater wellness.
Work with what you have today and let tomorrow take care of itself. Say to yourself, The energy of life is enough to dispel my fears and to give me strength to handle today. The more you seek balance, the more balanced you will become. Remember: Energy follows thought.
Understand that if you don't value yourself, you have little to give; then you will burn out.
Realize that you don't have to be all things to all people. You can say no and set limits without putting others out of your heart.
If you are caring for an aging loved one, learn to accept and ask for help, especially from family, friends and community resources. For example, if siblings aren't pitching in, facilitate a family meeting and talk about how to delegate tasks.
Remember that you have a right to your own life. Giving your all doesn't mean giving up your own health and well-being.
If you find yourself tired, angry or resentful at the end of the day, ask yourself what thoughts, actions or interactions drained you. Develop a meditation or self-reflection practice to let them go.
Don't worry about what society, other family members, friends and colleagues think of you or how you are doing. Consider that your best is good enough; no one else has the right to judge you or make you feel guilty.
Keep a positive attitude and accept each day's offerings. Then let everything go at the end of the day.
Stop trying to control people and events or expecting certain results. Life happens on its own.
Pay attention to the people and activities that nurture your life energy. Commit to more of these interactions.
Make a list of tasks and prioritize them according to what is important for you to be personally involved in and what you can delegate.
Learn to ask for help; it is actually selfish not to let others give to you.
In order to protect your time and energy, learn to say no to things you used to say yes to. Set reasonable expectations: Don't try to be all things to all people; it is not your responsibility to make others happy or to live their lives for them. Remember that service means enhancing other people's lives, not giving your life away or making other people happy.