It’s that time of year again. All the commercials everywhere are touting Love and spending money to show you love some one. Here is a thought: take care of yourself first this Valentine’s Day. Love yourself first. It is really the caregiver’s rule – Take Care of Yourself First, So you Can Take Care of Others.
As a Caregiver, you absolutely MUST love yourself first, and that means taking care of yourself first. If you do not love yourself, if you do not take care of yourself, there’s nothing left of you to give to the person for whom you are a Caregiver. If you go down because you are overwhelmed and too exhausted, the entire system goes down. YOU are the most important part and you deserve to be loved.
Following are four things you can do for yourself, to love yourself this Valentine’s Day.
- Buy yourself a rose. (Or more than one if you wish.) One rose from you, to YOU, reminds you that you are loved and are valued. Place it someplace where you can see it, smell it if it has a fragrance, and thoroughly enjoy the peace it brings you.
- Find another thing that you enjoy doing, and just DO IT. It could be a long soak in a tub with rose petals in it, a visit to a nail salon, a movie away from home, or go to the library and sit and read where no one is asking you to do something for them for a couple of hours. Be free to allow yourself time away from your person for whom you care. If you can’t leave your person alone, hire a friend (their pay could be some beautiful roses) to watch them for you for 2-3 hours of “me time”.
- Go out to lunch or dinner with your loved one. I know it can be a lot of work getting them in the car, driving someplace, possibly lifting a wheelchair in and out of the car the 6-8 times it takes to do this. So what, that’s merely the path to the pleasure. Then, once you’re in a nice restaurant, being waited on, look your loved one in the eyes and tell them you love them. Smile, hold hands, and as you always do, make their day special. You will both feel fabulous and loved for making this special effort.
- *Here is the most challenging idea. Say to yourself, “I forgive myself for feeling guilty that I took some time away from my Caregiving duties to love myself.” Say it 100 times if it takes that many times to truly believe it. Loving yourself isn’t selfish, it’s essential to your well being. Loving yourself doesn’t mean you think you are the only person in the world. It doesn’t mean you should feel bad about yourself because you want time to yourself. Loving yourself simply means that you know you are worthy of love. Loving yourself is evidence of your self-confidence. As a confident person, all things around you become easier because you have created positive energy within yourself. So forgiving yourself for feeling guilty, allows you to be confident, and THAT is what brings more joy to you as a Caregiver.
Therefore, ignore the commercials, just do one or two of the above nice things for yourself. It will make your Valentine’s Day filled with love, and that’s what it is really about anyway.
*Here is another special secret: do #4 daily, 100 times for 30 days, and you’ll start to make forgiving yourself a habit.
For more information about my book, “Don’t Stop the Music: Finding the Joyin Caregiving, see my personal website at http://www.nancyweckwerth.com or
Nancy is on Twitter @wecknan