You'll find a regularly recurring theme on this blog -- self care for the caregiver. The vital import of this concept cannot be stressed often enough, since it can help to keep a caregiver strong and in balance while providing the care necessary for their loved one. This self-care can take many forms, but the simple act of nurturing yourself, providing little "treats" for an emotional, mental health boost, finding quiet moments of pre-planned respite when you feel your composure crumbling, reminders of all the ways that life is good and concentrating on that goodness in a tangible way, centering yourself through prayer, meditation, relaxation -- these are basically what self-care is about.
I would recommend to all caregivers that you create a "comfort drawer" or basket for yourself, containing items that bring you calm, comfort, and simple pleasure. The types of items to include will vary widely depending on individual tastes, but here are some ideas: aromatherapy lotion or body creme (a lavender scent is very calming and balancing for most folks, or perhaps orange is right for you), a little book of inspirational quotes or daily meditations, bath salts or oils, calming tea such as chamomile, green tea, or mint. You can also put in some comfort food (think emergency chocolate, here!) but try to stay with healthy, life affirming things as much as possible. You can really have fun with this idea and get as wild and crazy as you want. You can even wrap some items up so that you surprise yourself when you open the drawer or basket for comfort. It's your comfort, so only you can really decide what belongs in this sacred spot. The point is to make some effort to give yourself support and nurturing, available easily and when you need it. Sometimes, just the act of creating of such a secret cache of comfort starts the pleasure rolling. Remind yourself that you are enough. You deserve good things that bring pleasure. Caring for yourself in this way enriches not only your own life, but that of your loved one and all those around you. Create an oasis of comfort today, so that it is waiting for you the next time you need some extra tender loving care.
For more suggestions, check out my favorite products in my Caregiver Resource store by clicking here. (Then click on the category Self Care Products on the right.)
Karen is a compassionate, enthusiastic student of life, who cared for her mother for 17 years. She brings her insights, compassion, experience and desire to share knowledge and healing to this ongoing conversation with others on the caregiving path. If you are caring for a parent, spouse, friend or other loved one this site offers sanity-saving tips, open-hearted self-care ideas, and an open forum for discussion, connection and sharing resources for the journey.
All Acceptance Aging Together Alan Cohen Alive Inside Movie Alzheimer's Alzheimer's Prevention A Mind Of Your Own Anxiety Aromatherapy Audio Therapy For PTSD Austin Air Hepa Filter Autism Back Care Video Beginner's Mind Being Present Blessing For Caregivers Books Brain Insulin Butterfly Story Calm Calm.com App Care For Veterans Caregiver Advocate Caregiver Coalition Caregiver Comfort Kit Caregiver Guilt Caregiver Retreat Caregiver's Serenity Prayer Caregiver Stress Caregiver Support Care Giving Caregiving Vulnerability Care In Hospital Caterpillar Into Butterflies Chamomile Tea Cindy Laverty Comedian Computers & Exercise Crisis Dan Cohen Deepak Chopra Delirium Depression Diabetes Disaster Preparedness Distractions Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa Dr. Oliver Sacks Eden Alternative Eldershire Elizabeth Dole Foundation Emergency Planning Emergency Preparation Emerson End Of Caregiving Enough Already Escapism Essential Oils Food Safety Forgiveness Funny Stories Gaiam.com Gail Sheehy Gift Of Alzheimer Gift Of Healing Presence GMO Food Green House Project Gregory Fricchione Md Grief Guilt Happy Light Healing Holding Hands Home As Sanctuary Hope Hospital Caregiving Hospital Stay Humor Inspirational Reading Ipods For Nursing Homes Isolation Jacksonville James E. Miller John Denver Johns Hopkins Study John T. McFadden Jon Kabat-Zinn Kelly Brogan Kirtan Kriya Meditation Lao Tzu Laugh Laughter Lavender Loneliness Loss Of Purpose Love Love In The Nursing Home Maya Angelou Mayo Clinic Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Blog MD Meditation Meditation Garden Melatonin Memory Memory Cafe Military Caregiver Mindfulness Meditation Mr. Bean Music Music & Alzheimer Music And Memory Neurological Research Noise Pollution Operation Family Caregiver Opportunity Overnight Respite Care Pandemic Passages In Caregiving Patience Paul Coelho Peace Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Power Of Love Prayer PTSD Quality Of Sleep Radical Contentment Relaxation Releasing Problems Renewal Research Respite Rewind Rodney Yee Rosalynn Carter Rosalynn Carter Institute For Caregiving Rowan Atkinson Sanctuary Sanity Self Care Serenity Silence Sleep Slowing Time Solutions Soothing Music Stress Stress Relief Sun Sunshine Support For Caregivers Tai Chi Thanksgiving The Care Company The Kiss Time Traumatic Brain Injury Travel With Alzheimer's Person Treat VA Caregivers Valentine's Day Verilux Veteran Farms Veterans Veteran Suicide Vitamin D Wayne W. Dyer Wellness Wendell Berry White Noise William H. Thomas Worry Yoga Yoga Video