It’s important not to neglect your mental health when caring for your loved one. Here are ten mental self-care ideas to help you find balance so you can be at your best:
- Start each day with three realistic goals. Make your goals SMART (specific, measurable, attain- able, relevant, time-based). Write them down. What would make you feel successful today?
- Create “stop doing” goals. What activities or thoughts suck time or energy from your day? Limit or eliminate them. Keep in mind that self-care is NOT a waste of time.
- Eat the frog. Mark Twain said, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” Your “frog” is your biggest, most important task or conversation—the one you are most likely to avoid. Do it first.
- Delegate. What tasks are “busy work” for you? Could someone else take these over? What might someone else like to learn? Let go a little bit. You don’t have to do it all. Who else could help with caregiving? What are they good at?
- Value people’s time. Respect your time and others. Do you need a meeting? Or will a quick phone call solve the problem? Create a meeting agenda, then follow it. When someone approaches you, don’t let the person hijack your day. Instead, ask about the deadline. Does it need to be done immediately? At all?
If you’re a Yes Person, you may find it difficult to say no. However, there are many polite ways to delay or prioritize tasks. Stay focused on your three SMART goals each day—and remember to include your self-care.
- Create no-work zones. In our highly connected world, 24-7 work is possible. Don’t do it. Set aside time for family, friends, and self-care. Get to bed on time. That email will be there tomorrow morning. The world will keep spinning if you disconnect for a bit each day. Make it clear to others when you’ll be available.
- Clean and organize it. Your workspace, desk, home, and even your car should be Zen spaces. File or throw out papers. Put up artwork or photos that inspire you. Likewise, help your loved one manage paperwork, files, and clutter.
While organizing, use technology to your advantage. Consider whether you can store files digitally. Then, organize them in consistent ways so you can find them—weeks or months later. Delete excess files from your computer desktop.
- Stimulate your brain. Learn something new this week. Watch a documentary, listen to a TED Talk, or read the news with your aging loved one. Solve a puzzle or brain teaser. Play a challenging card or board game together. Attend a seminar or webinar. Take a class on LinkedIn Learning.
- Be creative. Cook, bake, or paint a picture. Write a poem or story. Document your aging loved one’s story with a memoir. Come up with a new solution to an old problem. Everyone can be creative—just in different ways.
- Do something you enjoy today. Take a bath, light a candle, read a book, watch a movie. Listen to music. Take up a hobby. Know what makes you happy.
Are you a caregiver who is looking for more support? Jukebox Health is proud to partner with the family caregiving platform, Dari by Homethrive. Dari is revolutionizing support for unpaid caregivers and their loved ones.
And does your employer, insurer, or affinity group offer Dari as a benefit? If so, simply sign up using your organization e-mail or registration code. If not, click here to learn more and ask your benefits leaders to set up a no obligation call today!