People can put so much time and effort into helping others that they hurt themselves.
Some might think it’s selfish to take a break. But people who take care of themselves can better help others.
People who take care of themselves while helping older adults:
- Feel less stress about helping
- Are less likely to get sick or develop health problems
- Are able to help for a longer amount of time
- Are able to help in more difficult situations
Any activity that someone enjoys and that helps them to relax can be part of their self-care.
Self-care doesn’t need to take much time or effort. Short self-care activities can fit into busy daily schedules.
Self-care could include:
- Treats for the senses, like listening to favorite music, taking a warm bath, breathing in fresh air or walking barefoot
- Pleasant breaks, like watching a movie, driving around, listening to a podcast or sitting quietly in a comfortable space
- Mental or artistic activities, like reading, doing a crossword puzzle, writing in a journal, coloring or taking pictures
- Special treats, like getting a massage, going to a nice restaurant or visiting a favorite place
- Physical activities, like jogging, doing yoga, gardening, going for a walk, bicycling or swimming
- Social connections, like calling a friend, getting coffee with others or going to a support group meeting
- Religious, spiritual or mindful practices, like praying, meditating, focusing on the breath or listing the positive things that happened that day
- Celebrating small things, like enjoying a sunny day, spending time with a pet or wearing favorite clothes
Self-care also includes healthy habits, like eating balanced meals, getting enough sleep, setting healthy limits, exercising and making regular healthcare appointments.