Prioritizing your own needs and making time for self-care can help you feel a greater sense of well-being and feel more balanced overall, which will allow you space and the energy to be an even better caregiver to your family.
Between helping your aging parents and taking care of your own young family, not to mention keeping up with work and juggling responsibilities at home, you feel pulled in every direction on a daily basis. But instead of pushing aside your own needs, lean into them and make a little time for self-care every day.
Be Mindful About What You Eat
Food can be powerful medicine. Certain choices can fuel your day, while others can leave you feeling sluggish or can even exacerbate health issues. You are stretched thin between taking care of your parents and your kids as it is, you don’t have time to waste on your own health challenges if you can avoid it. No matter what your health goals are, processed junk food, refined sugar, soda, and white starchy foods can only hold you back, so work to eliminate them. Aim to eat a well-balanced diet consisting of a variety of organic vegetables, fruits, wild-caught fish and other quality fat and protein sources.
If you have specific health concerns, research what types of food you should be eating to help improve your condition and what you should be avoiding.
For instance, those with certain hormonal health issues should eat cruciferous vegetable cooked, instead of raw. If you fail to research dietary advice for your specific health issue, you could unknowingly make things more difficult, despite making seemingly healthy food choices.
We all know that exercise is essential for maintaining your physical health, but it also can play a key role in your mental well-being. Exercise can have a dramatic effect on your mood and it is a great opportunity to let go of any stress that you are feeling.
While exercising may seem like something that everyone else has time for but you, don’t let that be an excuse. To start, reframe how you think about exercise: it is something that you GET to do, not something that you HAVE to do.
Think of it as your “me time” and you may be amazed to see how much easier it is to prioritize taking that walk after dinner or squeezing in a quick workout before your family wakes up. Squeeze it into your day whenever you can, even if that means walking a few laps around the parking lot while you wait for your mom at her doctor’s appointment.
Identify Your Stressors & Minimize What You Can
Stress management is the ultimate self-care practice. Chronic stress can lead to a host of health issues like anxiety, heart palpitations, digestive issues, and insomnia.
To get a handle on your daily stress, the first step is to identify your triggers. Accept what you can’t change, but do change what you can. For instance, if money is a big stressor for you, look for ways to cut down on your family’s expenses, like by getting health insurance plans that meet your family’s healthcare needs.
Carve Out Time for Yourself by the Minute
Some days will be so jam-packed that you can barely keep your thoughts straight, let alone make a healthy meal or fit in a workout. On busy days like this, it is all the more important to prioritize yourself. Self-care needs to take much time. It can be taking a 10-minute timeout outside to watch the sunset or five minutes in your car to scroll through Instagram on your phone after loading the groceries. It could be spending a few minutes dry brushing before a shower or simply slathering on your favorite expensive hand cream in the waiting room at the doctor’s office with your mom. When it comes to self-care, the intention is everything, and like most things, it’s about quality, not quantity.
It’s all too easy to get so caught up taking care of everyone else that you forget about yourself. But by making mindful food choices, exercising regularly, minimizing your daily stress triggers and making a little more time for yourself, you can be a well cared for as your loved ones.