9 Self-Care Tips from Patients and Caregivers
“Self-care is much more than what we see on social media. It’s not fancy spas and candles. It’s taking time and making small adjustments – making your health a priority and looking after yourself, first.” – Kat Naish, Life Effects contributor.
If there’s one group of people who understand this, it’s those who live with chronic illness or care for people who do. When chronic illness is part of your family’s everyday life, it’s easy to slip into neglecting your needs. Making a habit of self-neglect can lead to anxiety, depression, or even burnout.
Whether you live with chronic illness or not, there is immense value in taking the time to look after your mental and physical health in a world that sometimes seems designed to break it down.
For International Self-Care Day, we have rounded up some of the best pieces of advice around incorporating self-care routines into your daily life. These tips, suggestions, and words of encouragement come from the true experts: our Life Effects patients and caregivers.
1. Recognize your needs
Identifying what your mind and body need to keep going is the first step toward a lasting self-care routine.
“This occurs when you break out of the everyday rut and reinsert your own needs and wellbeing back into the equation. This shift in perspective will help you see that there is an end game and hope for the future. I urge every caregiver to take a step back and actively seek out this perspective. Ultimately, this will not only make things better now but also in the long run.” – Mark Lawrence, Caregiver
Read more at 4 Self-Care Tips for Caregivers (tevapharm.com)
2. Focus on now but plan ahead
“Stop for a moment. Take a breath. Prioritize. Make a list that includes more than work and household tasks. Remember, the most important priority is your health. Identify small things that will make you feel better and spread them throughout your day.” – Kat Naish, Caregiver and Patient
3. Hobbies and me-time
“Schedule small breaks throughout the day. Get up and walk around if you sit a lot in your job. If you are on your feet a lot, sit down for five minutes. If you have a bit more time, take a stroll around the block. It’s beneficial to increase your step count, and the fresh air will help you tackle the rest of the day with renewed vigor.” – Kat Naish, Caregiver and Patient
4. Ask for help
Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Reach out to those closest to you, and don’t be scared to seek support from professionals. We are not supposed to bear life’s burdens alone – so use your community.
Watch the video below:
5. Create a healthy sleep routine
Everyone feels better after a night of peaceful, uninterrupted sleep. Try following a routine to help you unwind. Experts recommend the following as healthy bedtime routines:
- Keeping a gratitude journal
- Making a to-do list for the next day so you can offload worries
- Practicing meditation or deep breathing
- Taking a relaxing shower or bath
- Reading or pursuing a creative hobby
Try to stay away from your phone and other screens and avoid caffeine or alcohol before bedtime.
6. Protect your mental health online
Be mindful of how you spend your time online. Avoid websites and people who make you slip into negative thought patterns.
“I find the mute button is a powerful tool if you’re worried about offending anyone. Ultimately, your own mental health is of paramount importance, and being thoughtful about who you follow and how you use social is integral to surviving the modern world.” – Alice-May Purkiss, Life Effects contributor
7. Don’t overcommit
“When I overcommit, my stress increases, my mood goes south, and by the time I finish the (too many) things I said I’d do, I’m so exhausted that it can take up to a week to recover. One of the ways I care for myself is by not overloading my schedule and not saying ‘yes’ to something if it’s not realistic.” – Rene Brooks, Life Effects contributor.
8. Keep things tidy
“Keeping things tidy is one of the most important parts of my self-care routine. We all get a little messy sometimes, and I can deal with it up to a certain point before it feels like things are out of control, but to stay in a good headspace, I have to keep things relatively neat.” – Rene Brooks, Life Effects contributor
9. Practice being kind to yourself
“It was only through self-awareness and lots of practice that I could treat myself with the respect and care I deserved. When I began to be as kind to myself as I am to my loved ones, I became a better caregiver. I didn’t burn out as fast, I was calmer, and I stopped second-guessing myself.” – Susanne White, Caregiver Coach
Taking care of yourself is not selfish. No matter who you are or what your circumstances are, it is important that you take care of your physical, emotional, and spiritual self.
But remember, there are times when all the good mental hygiene and self-care routines are not enough. If you are struggling with feelings of depression and anxiety, speak to your healthcare professional. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness; it’s a mark of strength.
For more hacks, tips, and tricks on navigating life as a chronic patient or caregiver, visit Life Effects.
NPS-ALL-NP-00626 JUNE 2022