To help others, we must first take care of ourselves. Here are some things you can do for yourself and may also help to boost your family’s resiliency:
Learn self-awareness and self-management
Being aware of your emotions and how emotions affect others is important for your social and emotional wellbeing. The next step is learning to manage those emotions so they don’t have a negative impact on you and your family.
Take care of yourself
Self-care is emotional, spiritual, physical, social, and intellectual wellbeing. It allows us to create balance in our lives while being caregivers for our family.
Eating well, getting enough sleep and getting physical activity are all important for your health and wellbeing. When you are healthy, you are more likely to have positive family times together. You are also setting a good example for those around you to be healthy too. Getting help if you are physically or mentally unwell is not only important for your health, but it is also important for your family.
- MyHealth.Alberta.ca: Healthy Living
- AHS Healthy Eating Starts Here
- AHS Family & Community Resource Centre (Alberta Children's Hospital) - Information prescriptions
- Anxiety Canada
Build self-awareness and self-care
Begin by making a list of your current activities and responsibilities. Next, make a list of strategies you currently use for self-care. Ideally, there will be a balance between your list of caregiver responsibilities and your list of self-care strategies. Take a look at your lists and assess how you are doing – if your current responsibilities significantly outweigh your self-care, think about ways you may be able to achieve a better balance. You might also choose to contact a mental health worker or counsellor for guidance and support.
Self-care takes many forms and what works for one person may not work for another. Think creatively about your situation and what would make a difference for you. Each side of the scale is unique for each individual and will likely change over time as one’s caregiving situation and other life aspects change. As this exercise only provides a snapshot glance at a specific point in time, it is important to do it on a regular basis to maintain awareness of your self-care activities over time.
Make a plan
One strategy is to develop a self-care plan. To do this, take a moment to think of activities and lifestyle choices that can help improve your emotional, spiritual, physical, social, and intellectual aspects of life, as well as things that you are already currently doing. In addition, take note of those things that contribute to your responsibilities and stresses, which you can stop doing (on your own or all together) to enhance your wellbeing.
- Continue doing: Things that you are already doing to help your health and quality of life
- Start doing: New activities that may help you revitalize and achieve better balance in your life
- Stop doing: Things that are optional and add to your current responsibilities and stresses, or things for which you can give to others to do. Learn and practice saying ‘no’ to things that are optional and not part of your self-care
Some examples of self-care could include: