Whether you’re a professional carer or a family member looking after a loved one in need, it’s commonplace that one’s own self falls to the bottom of the priority list. So, who’s caring for the carer? If you’re a carer in any regard, this is something you must factor in and become aware of. If you aren’t caring for yourself, you won’t be able to care for anyone else as your wellbeing (and most likely health) will suffer sooner or later.
On that note and in honour of World Kindness Day this November 13th, we thought it appropriate to highlight mindfulness and self care by suggesting different ways you can increase both in your life. Read on for inspiration and support in addressing this vital adjustment. Let’s start with different ways to help re-focus your personal time, to awaken conscious self care. These have been broken down into physical, mental and emotional health benefits.
Boosts to your physical well being:
- Prioritise sleep, it’s vital in order for your body and mind to function properly.
- Rearrange your home slightly, be it furniture or belongings to create a less-cluttered, calmer space. If you come across outdated, unused items give them away to your local charity shop.
- Walk to your favourite outdoor spot (favourite park, cafe etc.) with a much anticipated book and switch off for a full half hour as a minimum (more if possible).
- Cook yourself a new and healthy dish from scratch, and eat it slowly.
Mental relaxation aids:
- Only listen to calming music or a favorite podcast (perhaps in a long hot bubble bath) for a whole week and notice the difference you feel.
- Make a list of how you want to feel and rewrite/revisit each week.
- Turn off your mobile for your whole lunch break or where possible, a full day of the week, each week, to watch your focus sharpen on other (more interesting/important/noteable) things.
- Read, write or draw something, anything, just uninterrupted for at least 30 minutes.
- Leave social media completely behind for a holiday or festive period simply for a digital detox. It’ll both ground you and enable deeper connections with your loved ones.
- While you’re there, unsubscribe to any emails that are no longer needed or of interest and keep a clean inbox. If you have a lot of emails create folders to keep order.
Prompt your emotional health:
- Avoid anything and anyone that triggers stress in your life, as much as humanly possible.
- Slow, deep breathes, if you can’t manage this without distraction then there are countless free mediation and breathing apps that will assist you. Even 10 minutes a day will enable a real increase in your well being in no time at all.
- Write down your current thoughts and feelings once a week for a couple of months to see your progressions and stagnations as well as any recurring patterns or themes. It will help enormously with self reflection.
- Watch your favourite film, preferably one that is light.
- Volunteer, for any charity, or local event, not only is it social but requires you to leave your habitual week for a few hours and be in a new environment, which is very beneficial to your emotional balance.
If you find lists overwhelming and hard to narrow down and apply to you, here’s a suggested week-long plan of self care with a different daily focus if you’re interested in trying it for a full week, even for a few spare minutes a day (preferably more) in order to see the difference one week can make…
Monday’s focus: clean
Whether you have time to clean out one clothes drawer, room or more, starting is the key. Clear out, tidy or clean some part of your home that has been bothering you.
Tuesday’s focus: a digital ban
Turn off your phone, opt for a chapter of your book instead. Unplug from social media and instead call your dearest friend, or give a loved one your full attention. Try not to look at any screen at least two hours before you go to sleep.
Wednesday’s focus: health
Go for a long walk or jog before then making yourself a healthy dinner you have never tried from scratch.
Thursday’s focus: donate
Any objects in your home that you don’t use or are no longer you, put them in a bag and take them swiftly of to your nearest charity shop.
Friday’s focus: purge
Unsubscribe from as many useless emails, posts, chat groups, facebook pages as possible and feel very digitally uncluttered, instantly.
Saturday’s focus: energy
Today the main goal is fresh air. Be it a long or short walk, go. Use it to reflect upon your week, not call someone or scroll through social media. Lift your head up and observe the surroundings, people, sounds and notice how you feel. Try to stay focused solely on you.
Sunday’s focus: focus itself
What is it that makes you feel relaxed? Do this, for as much of Sunday as you can. If it’s 5 spare minutes – that will help, if it’s a large chunk of the day – brilliant. Just ensure you engage with and prioritise this, just get into the habit.
Mindfulness, self-care and kindness all promote the same thing – happiness, by focusing on the moment and prioritising the things that matter. Here’s nine bite-sized mindfulness strategies to conclude, that help people on a daily basis, when kept in the forefront of the mind:
- Challenge existing beliefs, that you have of yourself, others and situations
- Laugh at yourself, don’t take life too seriously, be light whenever possible
- While learning something new, slow down
- Respect your own body: regular exercise, wise food and enough sleep
- Embrace any excuse to be in nature
- Try to turn everyday tasks into mindful moments
- Don’t deny any emotions you have, you feel how you do for a reason
- Fully listen when someone is speaking to you
- Implement regular mini-breaks for your body to move and your mind to pause
If you are looking for care, Care Sourcer’s free service offers a searchable directory of local care agencies. If you need care urgently, our team of care experts are also available by telephone to guide you through the process.