How often do you put others’ needs in front of your own? I’m guessing a lot. Don’t worry, we all do it. When it feels like you have a million things to do, and only ten minutes on the clock, it’s easy to put your own self care on the back burner. It might even seem like the right thing to do. But, at the end of the day, you aren’t doing yourself—or those in your care—any favors.
Ignoring your own needs is an unsustainable strategy. This is why so many tasked with taking care of others—like teachers, nurses, and senior caregivers—experience burnout. You need to be taking the appropriate measures to stay mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy. Doing so will provide you with the energy to perform to the highest of your abilities. And not doing so could negatively affect those who are in your care and depending on you.
The following tips will help you stay healthy in all aspects of your life. Heed this advice. If not for the ones who care for you, do it for the ones you care for.
Staying Sharp: Your Mental Health
At times, our jobs can seem dull and repetitive. Maybe you aren’t being challenged with your daily tasks, or the conversation at work isn’t particularly stimulating. If that is the case, then you need to find other ways that you can stay sharp. It’s so easy to just give into the monotony and distract yourself with silly games to pass the time.
If you have downtime at work, consider taking an online class. It can be relevant to your industry, or just something that you have a passing interest in. Consider learning a new language or skill. If your current position doesn’t provide any free time, make sure that you are finding ways to challenge yourself either before or after your day job. Many caregivers can feel isolated from the outside world, so it’s important that you find ways to connect and engage.
Staying Fit: Your Physical Health
When most people think about staying healthy, they think about physical fitness. And while this isn’t the only form of personal care, it is a very important aspect. Making sure that you get regular exercise can not only reduce your risk of diseases and ailments, it can also increase your energy levels, improve your sleep, and allow you to meet the physical demands of your job.
One of the biggest things that is overlooked? Flexibility. Keep in mind that stretching is just as important as cardio and weight training, and can actually make those exercises easier and more effective.
Staying Centered: Your Emotional Health
Regularly check in with yourself and be honest about how you are feeling. If you notice that you are beginning to feel depressed, talk to someone or devote more time to doing things that bring you joy and fulfillment.
You’ll also find that all of these things are connected. The more time you spend outside getting fresh air and exercise, the fuller your heart will feel. The more you feel intellectually challenged and needed, the better your perspective will be. All of these aspects are important to maintaining a meaningful and healthy life.
You Can’t Pour from an Empty Cup
Unless you are taking care of yourself, you will have nothing to give others. Give your mind, body, and spirit the love and attention that they deserve. By doing so, you’ll be able to give back to others tenfold.