Dear Addy,

With the holidays behind us, I鈥檓 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?

Stressed Out

Dear Stressed,

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鈥攚hich 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.聽Take a walk, stretch, run, dance, practice yoga, play a sport. Do whatever you enjoy doing to get your body moving. HFA鈥檚 FitFactor program offers information, videos, and support in tracking physical activity on their website.
  • Learn to say 鈥榥o.鈥 If adding something else to your already busy plate is going to induce more stress, learn that it is okay to say 鈥渘o.鈥 You鈥檙e only one person; you can鈥檛 do it all.
  • Eat well.聽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鈥檚 FitFactor program also offers a lot of great healthy recipes and menu ideas.
  • Prioritize 鈥漨e time.鈥溌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鈥檚 short guided meditations to help re-center yourself. Listen to a sample here.
  • Forgive yourself.聽When things don鈥檛 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.聽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!


Have a question? Click HERE. Your name will be changed in the response.

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 鈥淒ear Addy.鈥 Questions submitted to this column are edited in order to protect privacy and should be considered educational only, not individual guidance.


Sign up for E-mails, Dateline Magazine, and other ways to stay connected.