Dear Addy: Self-care
With the holidays behind us, I’m trying to focus on taking care of myself in the new year. However, I struggle to do this between family, work, and social obligations. Can you provide some tips on self-care so I can be a better advocate for myself and my family?
Good for you for starting the new year off by focusing on yourself! As parents, employees, and partners/spouses we often feel guilty or selfish for paying attention to our own needs. But despite these common feelings, prioritizing a little time for yourself each day can go a long way in managing stress and your overall health—which will better equip you to take care of yourself and others.
Here are a few self-care tips you can try to start becoming a healthier YOU:
- Move your body. Take a walk, stretch, run, dance, practice yoga, play a sport. Do whatever you enjoy doing to get your body moving. HFA’s FitFactor program offers information, videos, and support in tracking physical activity on their website.
- Learn to say ‘no.’ If adding something else to your already busy plate is going to induce more stress, learn that it is okay to say “no.” You’re only one person; you can’t do it all.
- Eat well. Caregivers are often so focused on making sure everyone else is fed and eating nutritiously that they often forget about themselves. Eat a balanced meal and take time to enjoy eating rather than gobbling it down between tasks. HFA’s FitFactor program also offers a lot of great healthy recipes and menu ideas.
- Prioritize ”me time.“ Take a little time for yourself each day. Read a book, meditate, engage in a prayer or spiritual practice if that comforts you, write in a journal, or listen to music. Even if you only have five minutes per day to spare, do something just for you. Try one of HFA’s short guided meditations to help re-center yourself. Listen to a sample here.
- Forgive yourself. When things don’t go as expected or planned, we often place blame on ourselves. Take a moment to acknowledge these feelings, but then release them. None of us are perfect. Stop trying to be.
- Remind yourself of the positive. Take some time each day to remember the positives in your life, such as family, friends, or whatever else makes you feel happy. Keep this as your daily focus.
- Ask for help.Talk to trusted family members and friends when you need help or just need someone to listen. Do not feel shameful if you think you might need to talk with a professional, like a psychologist or social worker. Taking care of your mental health is just as important as going to the doctor for a physical check-up.
All the best to you in the year ahead!
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HFA frequently receives questions from the bleeding disorders community related to advocacy issues. The questions often impact the entire community. In an effort to reach the largest audience possible with our responses to these widely applicable questions, HFA developed “Dear Addy.” Questions submitted to this column are edited in order to protect privacy and should be considered educational only, not individual guidance.
Assisting and Advocating for the Bleeding Disorders Community