Self Care For Care Takers – Taking Care of Yourself So You Can Take Care of Others

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The month of May is a time to reflect on and appreciate the care takers in our lives (whether they be our mothers, family, friends, or ourselves).  Care taking is an important and rewarding aspect of life. However, we are better at taking care of others than ourselves (and sometimes to the detriment of our own mental-emotional and physical health).  If we don’t take care of ourselves, how can we help others? Practicing self care is an act of selflessness – it is an act of showing love for ourselves and healthy self esteem.

Below are three sample self care plans that you can implement for practicing self care:

  1. The “Basics” plan: This plan focuses on making sure your basic survival needs are met – food, shelter, water, sleep and love.  It’s the “starter” plan for a burnt out or overwhelmed care taker.  Basics sound simple, yet they are difficult to attain.  How many times have you missed a meal because you were “too busy”? Or didn’t take a water break then had a headache for the rest of the day? Even if it’s eating a handful of nuts or an avocado, we need to eat a snack every 2-3 hours.  We also need 6-8 glasses of water daily (can be herbal tea or flavoured water) as our bodies dehydrated easily.  We need 6-8 hours of sleep to properly restore.  These are the basic needs to build a strong foundation for our health.
  2. The “Super” plan: Same as your “Basics” plan with the addition of community and socialization.  We need connections, to ourselves and others.  Interacting with community increases oxytocin and dopamine levels which improves our immune system and overall mood. Examples include volunteering, attending community events, or even talking to your neighbours.
  3. The “Ultimate”plan: Is the “Super” plan plus adding in things you enjoy that restores your self and spirit.  “Enjoyment” means the act of energizing your self through joyful activity (embarking in joyful activities is a natural “pick me up” or recharge for the spirit).  Joyful activities include anything that makes you happy – such as dance, music, reading, walks, nature, crafting, writing, etc.

I equate these three plans to car washes that you can purchase (I’ll explain my analogy).  The basics plan will clean your car for an affordable price, but it won’t make it as “new and shiny” as the super or ultimate plan.  The more energy you put into your self care plan (ie cost of the car wash) the better you will feel (the better the car looks).  Also, as a role model care taker, when you implement self care it will inspire others around you to begin taking care of themselves.

So……Take Care!

In Good Health,

Dr. Nicole

If you’d like to know if you are a healthy care taker, feel free to take this quick quiz:

Are You a Healthy Care Taker?

Also, May will be the month of self care for me as well!  Stay tuned for the month self care plan I am embarking on in May.  We are in this self care journey together!

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About healthyhappynaturopathy

I am a board certified and licensed Naturopathic Doctor working in Newmarket and Maple, Ontario I am an advocate of individualized and specialized medicine, about treating individuals as a whole, and evoking our own healing properties. To me, being happy is being healthy, and health flourishes with a positive mindset.
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