Compassion for Yourself

Compassion for Yourself

While being a family caregiver, it can be easy to forget about yourself. This is because the role of caregiving consumes a lot of your energy, time, and resources. And this isn’t necessarily because you are doing something wrong. After all, you are caring for a loved one who needs all the help they can get. At a certain point, however, the role can start having deleterious effects on your health and wellbeing. If this is the case, then not only do you put yourself at risk for mental and physical health problems, but you also put your loved one at risk by being a less effective caregiver. Neither of these situations are good. While there are many ways you can start taking care of yourself mentally and physically, each path to self-care begins with self-compassion. In this blog, ElderCare at Home will describe strategies you can use to help ground yourself, become self-aware, and (most of all) love yourself.

Some Tips to Follow:

(1) Recognize your self-worth: This is not so much a “strategy” as it is a state of mind. Never put yourself down or think you are not worth caring for. You matter, and so do your mental and physical health. Recognize the hard work you do and the effort it takes.

(2) Set aside “alone time”: This is a way to help give yourself time to do the things you love or reflect on what you have accomplished. Alone time can often seem unnecessary, but it is rejuvenating. Alone time can increase productivity, self-awareness, and offer an opportunity to plan your life.[1]

(3) Be easy on yourself: This is one of the most important things to do when you practice self-compassion. Psychology professor, Kristin Neff, argues that self-compassion allows you to treat yourself like you would treat your best friends. That means accepting yourself, being kind to yourself, and forgiving yourself when you make a mistake.[2]

(4) Eat Healthy: We incorporate this among our strategies because “healthy eating” normally requires you to focus and reflect on yourself and your habits. There are numerous diets, fads, and buzz words out there that claim to be the “magic bullet” for improved health, weight loss, or any other goal people have. We are not in the business of telling you what diet you should follow. The important thing to remember is that you are eating vegetables at every meal, fruits at least three to four times a day, proteins from either lean meats or plant-based products, and fibrous foods (like dark, leafy greens or beans). Also, you should try incorporating more whole grains into your diets as opposed to processed flour through whole wheat bread and oatmeal. Eating whole grains will give you more sustained energy throughout the day.

(5) Adopt a growth mindset: Practicing self-compassion, i.e. “going easy on yourself”, allows you to adopt a growth mindset.[3] This mindset allows you to recognize that life is about making improvements and not dwelling on failures. However, adopting a growth mindset allows you to practice more self-compassion by reorienting how you interpret achievements and failures. So, being self-compassionate and having a growth mindset are mutually constitutive, i.e. both mindsets exist along each other and reinforce one another.

If you have any more questions, please call ElderCare at Home or visit our website.

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