5 self care tips for carers (that only take 5 minutes)
The last few weeks as a full time carer have been some of the most emotionally, physically and mentally challenging my husband and I have experienced. We care for my husband's mother, a little Dutchie Oma who lives in our granny flat and lives with Vascular Dementia and Alzheimer's disease. She's recently had an infection, and still overcoming this infection, which has made ordinary day to day things completely out of her independent reach. It has taken our caring role to another level, in terms of the extra time and patience we are dedicating during this period.
What I'm hugely conscious of is the maintenance of self as we try and keep our head above water during this period. And the thing about this 'period' is, we don't know how long the symptoms that come along with the infection will stick around. So, I've been left thinking, we need a strategy for efficient but meaningful self care, so we remain dynamite carers to the person we love and care for.
So I've come up with a few achievable tips that can be achieved at home. Some of these have literally been helping us through this period, and I would love to see them become part of your landscape all the time, or as much as caringly possible.
1. Sit down and eat your breakfast. Give yourself at least 5 minutes to sit, eat, digest and above all enjoy breakfast, giving yourself a moment at the beginning of the day to centre on you, and nourish you for the day ahead.
2. Have flowers in the house. These don't have to be expensive, and they can be handpicked. Aldi has $6 blooms at the checkout which I regularly buy and I often take cuttings from native foliage in our garden, just to have a touch nature in the house. Succulents are a great, low maintenance alternative as well.
3. Listen to every sound you possibly can for 5 minutes. This is an efficient but meaningful mediation exercise that gives your mind a break from all the things you're thinking about. (Try find some sunshine and lean towards it).
4. Unfollow particular influencers on Social Media. This might not relate to everybody, but if you're on social media and you follow people that live lavish, over the top lifestyles, I recommend you take 5 minutes to unfollow them. We don't need to see what unrealistic people are up to, you know what I'm saying?
5. Foot massage in the shower. When you get the chance, have a lovely foot massage in the shower. So do this by lifting your leg so your foot touches your bottom and you're standing on one leg. Then face the palm of your foot towards the water (right angle), and let the hot water fall on and massage your foot. Repeat on the other foot. It’s not a Bali resort style foot massage, but it’s pretty good!
And I wanted to add a bonus one in on the end, just because I love you.
Bonus. Purchase a sheet face mask. A juicy face mask gives your face a dose of hydration, and leaves you feeling more alive. I use go-to transformazing masks, they're only $9 and worth it. Alternatively, a home steam with orange peel from the fruit bowl is inexpensive and worthwhile. Place a few cups of boiling water with the peel of an orange in a bowl, grab a fluffy towel, wait a few minutes for the water to cool slightly and then place your face over the bowl with the towel covering you. Don't get too close, and probably don't try this if you suffer inflammatory skin conditions like rosacea, eczema, acne.
I hope some or all of these are things you can easily and affordably incorporate at home, to practice some self care that looks after you. Continuing to look after you, is so important in your journey as a carer, so you can keep spreading your caring gooeyness.