As summer blends into fall and the days grow shorter, it is very easy to forget about taking care of ourselves, especially if we’re actively caring for someone who has some type of cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer’s or even mild memory loss. It’s a busy time of year, with holidays just around the corner, and things opening up again after COVID. All the more reason to pay attention to our well-being.
Self-care is not self-indulgence; it is an act of self-preservation. And, it makes it much easier to take care of others if we take care of ourselves.
We can nurture ourselves in many ways that don’t cost a thing. Walking is one of the best forms of self-care—no gym memberships needed or special clothing required – just put on something comfortable with a pair of sneakers. Going for a walk while taking in some sunshine benefits us in many ways: it provides much needed Vitamin D to support bone health and our immune system, lowers blood pressure and even helps to promote positive mental well-being. If you’re a Fitbit wearer, there is nothing more satisfying than when the device records the 10,000th step for the day. It almost does its own happy dance! Even short walks have wonderful physical and mental health benefits.
Other forms of self-care include anything that we find relaxing: reading; being in a quiet peaceful place such as a park or garden; taking a bath; spending a few moments doing deep breathing or meditation; listening to birds, music or a podcast; or even playing with our pets.
Whatever way we prefer to unwind, it’s important we all make time on a regular basis to give ourselves some extra love during National Self-care Awareness Month—and beyond. Not only will we enjoy it, it will likely make us more patient and help us get through our days in a calmer, happier way.
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