The Importance of Self Care

Working as a carer, be it for children, the aged or the disabled, is a highly rewarding career. However, as with any job, it can sometimes be draining and emotional, perhaps sometimes even more so as we develop strong bonds and friendships with the people we care for.

With this in mind, the importance of self-care cannot be understated. After all, you cannot pour from an empty jug.

Here, we share some tips for looking after YOU while you are also caring for others.

    • Spend Time in Nature – Whether it’s a hike through the lovely Aussie bush, a walk along the beach, or simply gardening in your own yard, we know that spending time in nature rejuvenates the soul and relaxes the mind. Aim to spend 20 minutes each day in nature and as the Dalai Lama once joked, if you’re really busy, aim for over an hour!
    • Exercise –It’s been a well-known fact for many years that exercise produces feel good hormones called pheromones. A brisk walk in the morning, a jog, a swim or a bike ride – any form of cardiovascular exercise that gets your blood flowing and boosts your heart rate, will help keep you happy, healthy and full of energy.
    • Stay Hydrated– The human body is made up of approximately 70 percent water, but we lose about a litre or two each day through sweat and other bodily functions. We really need to replace this for all our organs to work properly, but also to help keep us in an overall happy, healthy state. In fact, a 2012 study conducted by the University of Connecticut found that even mild dehydration can alter mood, energy levels and the ability to think clearly. Be sure to drink between one to two litres of water each day to keep hydration levels in balance.
    • Be sure to get plenty of quality sleep
      It’s essential to recharge your body, mind and soul, as well as help to keep stress levels as low as possible and at the same time, energy levels high!
    • Enjoy YOU time
      Do you have any hobbies? Is there something in your life that is just for YOU? It might be learning to play a musical instrument, taking a dance class, or even simply switching off and listening to your favourite Pod Cast or E-Book. Whatever you do, make sure you take time in each and every day to do something for yourself.
    • Eat Well
      A healthy diet leads to a healthy body and a healthy mind. It can affect your concentration, energy levels and ability to perform even the smallest of tasks.
    • Meditate
      Meditation is a wonderful way to quiet the chatter in your mind and bring a sense of calm and relaxation. When you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed, try to take a bit of time to meditate. Even a short five-minute meditation can help. Check the App store – there is an abundance of free meditation apps that you can download to help you recharge your batteries.
    • Ditch your Devices
      We are all so connected these days. All. The. Time. We are constantly staring at our smart phones, laptops or tablets. Give yourself a curfew every night where you put them down and log off. Don’t take them to bed with you and/or wake up and look at Social Media first thing in the morning. It can be incredibly draining. Taking time out from the screen will benefit you enormously.
    • Spend time with animals
      Animals have this wonderful ability to simply exist. We can learn so much from them. What’s more, walking your dog or snuggling your cat has been shown to vastly improve mood and general health and wellbeing. If you don’t have a dog or a cat, ask a friend if you can borrow theirs, or stop by your local animal shelter and volunteer to walk the dogs or cuddle the cats that are waiting for their new homes.
    • Reach Out
      Self-Care doesn’t have to be something you do by yourself. Reach out to your friends and let them know if you feel a bit like an empty well, or even if you’re just a little bit down. You’ll be surprised how sharing can improve your mood and lighten your load. Remember too, that the staff at h&h are always here to listen and help and support you whenever and wherever we can. Simply get in touch by calling 02 9682 0100 or email us at granville@hnh.org.au

Photo by Helena Lopes from Pexels