All of us who have traveled by air have heard the flight attendant say,
“In the event of an emergency, please put on your oxygen mask before assisting others.”
I think this is good advice for all caregivers: parents, spouses, and those caring for the ill or elderly.
You have to make sure you’re okay before you can be there for someone else.
Caregivers by nature prioritize the one(s) who need their care.
It may seem counter-intuitive at first, but the truth is: when someone depends on you, your wellbeing becomes MORE, not less, important.
What then must be a caregiver’s priority?
Take care of your own wellbeing FIRST so you will be available when others need you.
Consider what you need to maintain your physical, social/emotional, and spiritual health.
For physical wellbeing, you need adequate nutrition, exercise & sleep.
For social/emotional health, you need connection with family, friends & community.
For spiritual health, you need connection with your soul self & your Creator.
Take a moment to write down how you are meeting your needs in each of these categories. If there is an area where you are lacking, make note of that, too. Commit to and prioritize what you need to do to take care of yourself!
Remember: self-care is not self-ish or self-indulgent! It is the first step you need to take when others depend on your care.