Today I want to talk about some common self-care myths that are holding you back and keeping you down. I’ve been talking about this a lot recently inside of my care club for the members who are a part of my course and I wanted to share some of those details with you because, well I think they can help you re-evaluate your thinking about what it takes to take good care of yourself while caring for someone with dementia.
If you would prefer to watch my video on this topic, click here.
Many of you are ignoring your needs. You’ve basically put your life on hold to take care of your loved one and you are finding that you are down, sad, perhaps a bit resentful as you realize your own health and relationships have gone down the tube.
Well, even though this is common among caregivers, it’s really not okay to ignore yourself while caring for your loved one. I'm hoping this will get you to rethink some of what’s stopping you from caring for yourself and encourage you to start making some positive changes. I’m basically giving you some tough love here today because I’m passionate about this and I want to see you start taking better care of yourself.
I also put together a free download of over 80 ideas for self-care to help get your creative juices flowing so be sure to download that as well. Click here to download.
Now, I’m not going to review all the negative health risks that go along with being a dementia caregiver. I think you are all well aware of just how being a caregiver negatively impacts your health, you are probably living it right now. BUT I will remind you that when you are at your best, when you feel better, your loved one does better too. You are better able to help your loved one.
I’m just going to dive right in to some of the most common excuses holding you back.
“There’s no time”
I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve heard people tell me that there is no time for self-care because all their time is spent caring for their love one. BUT if you are reading this right now, if you are on FB, if you watch TV, if you shower, wash dishes, cook food, and do any of the basic things that most people do in their day to day life, then my friend, you have time for self care. I like to call this enjoying the “mini-moments” don’t let them just pass by unnoticed.
You do not have to wait until you have an entire weekend, an entire day, or even an entire hour to do self-care. You can weave self-care into your daily life. Get creative into making self-care a priority. Can you listen to your favorite playlist when you wash the dishes, can you use a new body wash when you shower, can you put on your comfiest pajamas when you watch TV. These things do matter, they add up and they can help you feel better. You’ve got to do basic daily tasks like shower and wash dishes anyway, how can you make it enjoyable? How can you take advantage of those every day opportunities. I once heard Oprah say that when she makes her bed (which she only does on the weekends by the way, she pretends that she is Martha Stewart). She uses her Martha Stewart voice, takes pride in her bed making skills, arranges her pillows and so on. Now that may seem silly to some of you, but it actually sounds a whole heck of a lot more fun than the way I was making my bed. Break out of your box and give something like this a try. It takes no extra time.
“I don’t have extra money”
Now you can basically just go back to everything I said about no time and apply that here too. There was no extra cost to listening to music while you do the dishes, no extra cost to channeling your inner Martha Stewart when cleaning your house, no extra cost to journaling, meditating, or even exercising. You don’t need a gym membership, you can start in your home. Do you know how many YT channels are out there to help people exercise right in their own home? Channels dedicated to yoga, dance fitness, stretching, lifting weights and so on. You do not need a big bank account to start doing self-care.
What’s the point, it’s not going to make a difference
Things can’t change so what’s the point? The point is that it can change. Everything can change. You are faced with a choice Careblazer, do you want to continue living your life exactly as is without changing anything or do you want to at least try to change? If you think back to the compound effect video, you don’t need to make a lot of change, you don't’ need to do something big and crazy and disrupt everything. Small changes can add up and do add up to big change if you stick with it.
It doesn’t work because I’m in a stressful situation
Here’s the deal Careblazer, how you think about stress matters. You are all in a stressful situations. There is no doubt about that. Being a Careblazer means you will face some stressful times. BUT don’t get caught in the trap of all or none thinking. Just because a part of your life isn’t going well - let’s say caring for your LOWD for example, it doesn’t mean all parts of your life have to be struggling as well. Your health, your friendships, your work, your hobbies, your pet, there are many different parts of your life that can go well despite your difficult situation of caring for a LOWD with dementia.
Where many Careblazers get into trouble is they put a halt to all efforts to prioritize themselves that many of those other things do start to go by the wayside. Don’t let that happen.
Careblazer, when you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening.
I think I’ll stop there for now. Have you been making any of these excuses for yourself? Be honest. Think outside of yourself, try something new, be willing to experiment with self-care and let me know how it goes. You can do this, I have faith in you.
And Don’t forget to download your sheet of over 80 ideas you can consider to start self-care.