As a caregiver, I find one of the more irritating statements to be, “Take care of yourself!” I’m sure it’s meant well, but it comes across like “Have a nice day!” Sort of one of those statements that sounds nice but feels insincere.
We all know we need to take care of ourselves, whether or not we’re caregivers, but as a caregiver, it feels like one more thing on an already long To Do list. Sometimes we think that we don’t have the time or money to get a massage, go out for tea or take a vacation, and that’s probably true.
So, what can you do? What you can do is really take care of yourself! Wait! Wait! Hear me out! I’m going to make this doable!
First, go to that spot in your house where you store, or hide, toiletries. Pull out the lotions, shampoos, toothbrushes, flosses, toothpastes, conditioners, and soaps. Stop saving something because it’s “too nice” to use! You’re worth it! You might have cute little bottles from a night you once spent in a hotel. Take those out, too. All of it.
Let’s look at the basics. There are some days you’re so busy you can’t even think, and if you’re lucky, you get to fall into bed, exhausted. Open one of those new toothbrushes you found and use it to brush your teeth at least twice a day. Once a day when you brush, floss your teeth. It isn’t fun, but it will save time and money in the long run. If you can’t remember the last time you were at the dentist and you don’t have an appointment on the calendar, schedule an appointment right now to get your teeth cleaned and checked. No, going to the dentist isn’t fun or free, but it’s a lot less expensive and a lot less painful to stop a problem before it starts.
Are you using a nice bar of soap or little scraps? Remove the scraps. Throw them out or put them in a jar or baggie and open one of the bars of soap you found. Yes, I know it’s frugal to use the scraps but doesn’t it feel nice to use a new bar of soap?
Put lotion on your hands. As a caregiver, you probably wash your hands a lot. You may have an ignored bottle of lotion on the counter. Use it. Or that sample of lotion you got from a hotel, or the one you got as a gift or are saving for company. Use it after you wash your hands and before you go to bed. In fact, put some lotion on your feet also once you get into bed. Rub your hands and feet as you put the lotion on and give yourself a mini-massage. While you’re at it, look at your arms and legs, too. Does the skin look lifeless and dry or hydrated and healthy? You might want to rub some lotion on those areas, too.
Did you find shampoo and conditioner while you were looking? Use them! Trying something different can be fun! I know you barely have time to shower, but this can work. When you get in the shower, wash and rinse your hair. After you rinse it, apply the conditioner and let it sit while you wash your face and body. Now, rinse everything off at once. There! That probably didn’t even take an extra 60 seconds.
Take a look in your pantry. Do you have teabags, instant cocoa, coffee, that you forgot about but is still good? Use them. Treat yourself to a cup of something nice and sit down to enjoy it, even if you can sit for only a few seconds. Feel the warmth of the cup when you wrap your hands around it and inhale the aroma of the beverage. Breathe deeply. Aahhhh….
The weather is changing. Try to get outdoors each day, even for a few minutes, even if it’s just when you’re taking out the trash. Listen to the sounds of nature. Observe the birds, watch how the leaves are moved by the breeze, and even look at the insects as the fly past. If you can’t get out, open the windows and bring nature to you.
One more thing. My grandmother died with purses, sweaters, robes and nightgowns that still had tags on them. She was saving them “for good”. Make today the day you take the tags off and use those items. YOU deserve “for good” items. Take care of YOU.
LEARN TO LOVE YOUR LIFE AGAIN
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