Above all, as caregivers, we need to take care of our needs. To me, self-care means doing the things I need to do for myself that enable me to continue to perform well as a caregiver. Self-care includes things like showering, eating at least two to three meals per day, exercising daily, and getting enough sleep. It also means treating myself to coffee when I have a spare few minutes, having my hair cut, and taking care of my nails. Doing everything that gives me the energy required to recharge my batteries and make it through those long days.
When we first started struggling with our son’s medical difficulties, I thought it would be best to sacrifice my needs for his. Day after day I continued to do less for myself than I needed. Eventually, I was so tired I couldn’t even do basic math calculations in my head. Finally, my husband realized the desperate nature of the situation. He stepped in to make sure I got enough sleep and had time to eat at least once a day.