Self-care is critical to long-term mental wellness, but for many people who spend their time taking care of others, it’s hard to remember to take care of themselves too. If you’re someone who spends most of your days taking care of other people with little time left for you, here are some ways that you can put yourself first.
1. Make it easier to smile.
Maybe you’re a mom who spends a lot of time carting kids to and from practices or dance classes after school. Part of your regular errands for the kids could be to the orthodontist for your kids’ braces. How often have you ever stopped to think about yourself? Are you someone who’s always been self-conscious of your smile? One way to take care of yourself is to take care of your confidence, too. You might be surprised to learn how much Invisalign costs and that it’s likely affordable for you.
The next time you’re taking your kids to the dentist or orthodontist for their traditional braces, do a little research. Find out what it would cost to get an Invisalign aligner for you. Feeling more confident about your own smile might even make it easier to do.
Maybe smiling hasn’t been hard due to an overbite or feeling bad about yourself. In reality, most people are pretty stressed out right now. In the middle of a global pandemic and after an unconventional year, it’s perfectly normal to be feeling down. This is why self-care is more important than ever. If this is an area you struggle with, ask a family member or friend who knows you well what they might suggest for ways you could treat yourself.
2. Bring love into the home.
This unconventional year has brought with it strains on families and relationships. Many families have experienced big changes as people have worked to navigate a global pandemic. While many families are suffering from grief and the end of long-term relationships, others are working on building new family dynamics. Changes like this, even good ones, can mean stress and anxiety around uncertainty. If you’re in a situation like this, one way to help yourself is to do the best you can to know where you stand.
Maybe you’re on your second marriage and have spent the last few years working on your relationship with your stepchild’s birth parent, or maybe your family’s considering a second parent adoption because the birth parent isn’t in the picture. Regardless of whether your in a same-sex couple, a single parent or someone who’s been raising a partner’s child, one way to take care of yourself is to fill your home with love.
If you’ve been putting your heart into a child and are worried about the best interest of the child, now might be the time to make moves toward adding a new family member to your home on a more permanent basis. Anxiety and uncertainty can come along when you don’t have legal paperwork to prove parental rights for your child. Whether you’re a first parent, stepparent, or whatever your role in the child’s life if it makes sense for your home, consider making it legal.
Once your legal rights are taken care of and you have guardianship or are finally legally backed with your parenthood, celebrate with your child. Take time out to spend quality time together to celebrate the adoption and new love forever in your home. Doing so will be a bigger act of self-care than you might realize.
3. Seek professional help.
If you’re experiencing relationship issues or have lingering problems from a previous relationship, a great way to care for yourself is to seek professional help. From gay couples therapy to individual counseling, licensed therapists can help you through almost any problem. Even if your treatment plan involves a way to pamper yourself, you’ll come out happier for it after finally putting yourself and your own mental health first. Your family members might even thank you for it, too.
Any therapist will tell you that the healthiest relationships are ones where each partner is encouraged to have their own hobbies and interests. While it’s great to have things in common, outside interests and friends are important as well. If you and your partner are struggling, it’s okay to ask for space to focus on the things you like to do. At the same time, it’s always a good idea to make plans for something you enjoy doing as a couple. If you aren’t sure what to do, consider planning a regular date night where you and your partner can reconnect and tune the world, kids, and outside influences out for a bit. It’ll do wonders for your relationship.
After driving those kids around, working on your smile, making your family life secure, and working your problems out, there’s no doubt you’ll be tired. In truth, self-care is work too. Sometimes, the best thing you can do to wind down is to give yourself permission to tune the world out. Schedule a nap or day of reading for yourself, and you’ll wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take the world on.
If you’re more active, a day of rest doesn’t mean you have to spend the day in bed or laying around on the couch. Think of other things you like to do. Going for a run, hiking, or taking a boat out are all great ways to wind down. Ordering takes out, making a craft, or working on a jigsaw puzzle are all great forms of self-care. You could meditate, take a bubble bath, buy a bottle of wine, take up a new hobby, or visit a spa; the choice is up to you. The point is to do something you want to do without worrying about anyone else.
In the end, the best way to take care of others is to first take care of yourself. No matter how you go about it and whether or not that care involves a simple day of rest once in a while, you’ll be better for it. You matter. It’s time to not only believe it but act on it, too.