I can’t tell you how many folks I’ve had on my table over the years who are either run-down or run-over by parenting and caregiving.
They’ve gained weight, are lost and depressed and mentally and physically exhausted. Exercise and healthy meal choices sound like a foreign language to them.
For some reason, we are conditioned to believe we have to sacrifice our own health and goals when parenting children and caring for elderly parents—to put them first and ourselves last. Being a caregiver can be one of the most rewarding positions in life, but neglecting to care for yourself in the process will leave you aimless, depleted and simply “going through the motions.” And this is neither inspiring nor rewarding for you and your future self.
Self-care is an essential part of providing the best life for you and your beloved. But time for self-care isn’t just going to present itself when it seems there already aren’t enough hours in the day. That’s why it’s called self-care…YOU need to make the time and commit to it. Just 30 minutes a day could be an Epsom Salt bath on Friday night, a Youtube yoga class or fave workout on Saturday morning, or meditation time on Sunday.
It could be creating a healthy 30-minute meal plan for you and your family (Google it). Maybe it’s journaling or a phonecall download with your therapist to vent frustrations, create a clearing for the week ahead or get the necessary clarity for a future goal. It can be walking the dog or taking everyone out for a brisk family walk together if you must.
It’s whatever YOU find fun, inspiring or relaxing—whatever makes YOU feel well cared for, at peace, and grateful. Do what you love on the regular as a part of your self-care practice and in preparation for goal setting. It’s hard to be inspired to set a goal for yourself when you aren’t lit up and rejuvenated to begin with.
A gratitude journal is a great daily reminder whether you’re writing in it or reading it, and is an awesome mental re-set to start or end the day.
Become a list person! It’s a great way to pat yourself on the back when YOU are that person in your life. Making lists will help you better manage your time, keep your brain free of noise, and offer a much needed sense of accomplishment when you check something off! Lists are also an essential part of goal setting. Setting goals will make your dreams reality when you follow a couple easy steps in your process.
- REJUVEN8 YOU! And get psyched! It’s super important to be energetic and rejuvenated when thinking about goals, or they will lack the inspiration required to see the goals through to fruition.
- WHAT DO YOU WANT ANYWAY? This has been a major block for me. I don’t have a hard time being grateful for what I already have, but figuring out what I want has always been the challenge! What lights you up when you think about having it for yourself? Get clear on the outcome you desire and this becomes your goal. See yourself there and do so often. VISUALIZATION STATION!
- WRITE IT DOWN and also write down what you will need to do to get there. Is there a deadline? Action items toward reaching your goal should regularly be updated on your daily list. They are, after all, a priority.
- Tell everyone what you’re up to! Accountability partners never hurt you know.
- KEEP AT IT! Don’t give up. Keep action items on your daily list and check them off as you go. Even if your end goal remains a constant, your action plan items may change significantly. Resist the judgment of that fact and just keep trodding!
- When we make self-care and our own goals a priority, we are showing others how to care for themselves and this can be the best care you’ve ever offered anyone. It also shows people how to care for YOU, and this can be the best gift you ever give to yourself!