We’ve been focusing a lot on watchfulness in our recent emails – how important it is to pay close attention and respond quickly to symptoms of mental illness in our children and loved ones. But while you’re watching them, caring for them and possibly waiting for a diagnosis, don’t forget about your own self-care.
It’s not always easy to take time out for yourself, especially when a loved one needs you so much. For me, it's WAY easier to care for others than for myself. Some of us are hard-wired to be “fixers” and “helpers” and we don’t like to see people we love suffering, or in pain, or hurt, or struggling.
Yet, I understand that if I don't care for myself, then MY suffering, pain and struggles will get tossed aside. And I’ve found that if I ignore those feelings, they will sometimes show themselves in the worst possible times and get in the way of my attempts to help the ones I love the most.
So let's work on looking out for ourselves … giving ourselves the same level of care that we provide to our loved ones ... so that we, too, can focus on healing, repairing and getting stronger.
Here’s a short, simple list of things you can do routinely … even several times a day … to make sure you’re giving yourself the attention you need:
Step away for your computer and stop googling every little symptom that you notice in your loved one.
Focus on something else, such as a hobby.
Do some deep breathing.
Go for a walk.
And here are some more suggestions to help you make self-care #1 on your to-do list, and to keep yourself from becoming stretched too thin.
What are some things you do to make self-care #1 on your to-do list? I’d love to hear what works for you.
Founder and Executive Director