Whether you are a community member, a healthcare professional, or a caregiver, practicing self-care is vital to your wellbeing. Below are some tips on what self-care may look like in your lifestyle, resources from health organizations, and a video series from our very own Complementary Therapies department showing different ways to practice self-care at home.
It is important for all of us to look after our own needs, mentally and physically as they go hand-in-hand. In stressful times, reminders for yourself to practice healthy living can be a source of energy and well-being. Some tips for practicing self-care include:
- Eating healthy foods
- Incorporate physical activity into your general routine – walks, dancing, fitness, etc.
- Maintaining a regular sleep schedule, and providing yourself with opportunities to rest
- Establishing routine in your (potentially new) daily life. Many people are now adjusting to a new working style, and creating a structure will help you feel more in control of what you can do
- Stay connected with friends and family as you remain physically distant
- Connect to words of wisdom and comfort provided by the community - visit our Faith and Comfort Corner
- Give yourself time to be alone when you need it, engaging in your hobbies and things that calm you – music, meditation, baths, etc.
- World Health Organization (WHO): Tips for Self Care
- John's Hopkin's University Hub article: "Practicing Social Distancing? Here's How to Prioritize Self-Care"
- Psychology Today: Practicing Healthcare in the Face of the Coronavirus
- Take 5 with Complementary Therapies (a playlist of 14 self-care tips, all 5 minutes or less)
Self Care for Healthcare Professionals
At a time when the qualities of healthcare professionals are most in demand, we must remember to take care of ourselves. There is heightened awareness and anxiety regarding COVID-19, and it is normal to feel stressed, overwhelmed, or emotional. As healthcare professionals, your health is especially important to maintain, as it is your hard work and resilience that is helping patients. Here are some tips for practicing self-care in your everyday lifestyle:
- Take breaks – go for a short walk, get some sunlight, do stretches
- Maintain a healthy eating lifestyle
- Stick to your normal routines as much as possible
- Movement – have a regular form of exercise
- Limit screen activity and news intake
- Get as much sleep as possible
- Focus on what you can control – at work, at home, in your daily routine
- Lean on your social networks – connect virtually with those close to you
Self Care for Caregivers
It can be hard to focus on your own needs when you are caring for a hospice patient. If you share caregiving duties, the stress of caregiving may create tensions among family and friends, even as you pull together to care for your loved one. Taking care of yourself may seem selfish, but it is a necessity. Finding ways to replenish yourself is essential. Here are some suggestions that may help.
- Get sleep when you can. Have someone else look after your loved one if you need to rest. You may want to use home visits by volunteers as an opportunity to catch up on rest.
- Eat regular, balanced meals. Our volunteers can help with grocery shopping and light meal preparation.
- Maintain routines such as bathing, hair care, dental and medical appointments.
- Do some physical activity, even if it is just going for a short walk.
- Accept help from other caregivers and volunteers
- Caregiving can be isolating. It is important to keep in touch with others who are supportive of you.
- You may want to make regular phone calls to stay in touch, or you may ask your friends to call you regularly.
- You may want friends and family to visit, or you may want your space and privacy. Our counselors can help you sort out what works best for you and how to ask for the help you need.
- Our volunteers can visit with patients, so you can take a break and get support for yourself from friends and other social networks.
Taking care of yourself is hard but important. We are here to support you and your loved ones in ways that respect your beliefs, values and personal needs. For more resources, please visit our Care for the Caregiver page. If you would like to talk, if you would like reassurance, or if you need support from our professionals or volunteers to give you a break from caregiving, please call us at 301 921 4400.