“You must take care of yourself first.”

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Take Care of Yourself First

UGH! If I have to hear that one more time I might run away for good. Are you sick of hearing about self-care? I sure am. I mean, seriously – when do I have time in the day to get a manicure, massage, or an hour to read a book? If your schedule looks like mine, there is barely room to pee let alone book a spa weekend away.

While I’m sick of hearing the phrase, “You must take care of yourself first.” I do understand the importance of self-care. However, rather than telling me to take care of myself, how about helping me to do so? When was the last time someone actually helped you to have a moment to yourself?

I’m a single mother. My husband passed away two and half hears ago. Mom and dad live three hours away. I have one friend who is wonderful, but my mental health is not her responsibility. She is also a single mother. So, again, I ask you, when was the last time that someone offered to help you with self-care?

You must take care of yourself first is all well and good but when? How?

Please don’t let me be one of those people that tells you to take care of yourself without offering a way to do so. I know how difficult it can be to hold your life together, especially if you are the caregiver of a disabled veteran, mother of small children, and/or work full-time outside of the home.

For years I was a caregiver to my husband who suffered greatly from PTSD, depression, anxiety, and many physical and other mental issues. I homeschooled our children, attended online university, and volunteered regularly at our church. Looking back, I must confess that all of that was literally killing me.

Each time I visited the doctor I complained of more aches and pains. I was gaining weight by the minute. The doctors had no advice or help other than drugs and “you are getting older.”

time for self-care

UGH! No, I was dying under the pressure of being a caregiver.

Do you feel like you are dying under the pressure of being a caregiver? If the answer is yes, then please begin today to take care of yourself. I’ve compiled a small list of ways that you can begin to relax and be your own caregiver. Your family will thank you for it.

Please start today so that others will stop saying, “You must take care of yourself first.” I want you to know that you are needed and loved. The spouse and kids will respect you more when they see how relaxed and happy you have become. Self-care strengthens so that you are better able to care for others.

Try some of these ideas:

  1. I know you are working hard but try to find a friend or family member that can trade responsibilities with you. Think about things like carpooling the kids so you only have to drive them once a week or better yet, twice a month. Remember my single mom friend? Well, we trade the job of picking up and dropping off kids. Ask a family member to drive your spouse to the doctor appointment. In return, offer to reciprocate at a time when you are already going that way. This may free up an hour or more when you can breathe, take a bath, or read a book.
  2. Other than driving the kids and husband around, another time sucker for me was errands. There was always somewhere I had to be, something I had to buy, or something that needed done. Today, you can order your groceries and have them delivered. What a time saver! Use Amazon, Uber Eats, or some other delivery service rather than doing the shopping yourself. Take your time to make a list but then let someone else do the work. This is a great way to knock out that errand list.
  3. If you have small children that need babysitters, make a barter. Grab two or three of your best friends, that you trust with your kids, and trade babysitting duty. Rotate sleepovers so that everyone gets a break.
  4. I’m a big fan of hiring help if you can afford it. Hire a grass cutter, maid, babysitter, or personal shopper. Hiring out the big house projects is a must. Stop taking on these energy sucking tasks. Don’t think you can afford it? Think again, you can’t afford NOT to.
  5. Finally, don’t depend on one yearly vacation to be your refresher. While I’m a big fan of family vacation, I believe that taking small breaks throughout the year may be more beneficial to your mind and body. Stop wasting thousands of dollars on theme parks and have a weekend staycation instead. Look for a fun day that is within driving distance. Get outside because spending time in nature is healing. Take the family apple picking, go to the beach, drive around and look at Christmas lights, hike a national park, or visit a farmer’s market.

There you have it, just a few ideas to get you started. I hope that you will love yourself as much as your family loves you. What are some ways that you engage in self-care? Join my Facebook group and get in on the conversation!
https://www.facebook.com/groups/militarywivesgetupandgetgoing

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