We can all help our loved ones and community members get through crisis. But as we take action to support others, it is also vital that we take the time to support and care for ourselves. This page shares tips and resources to help you practice self-care.
The Importance of Self-Care
While you are supporting and helping someone who may be in crisis, it is especially important for you to also take care of yourself. Practicing self-care does not mean you are choosing yourself over your loved one. It means that you are simply being mindful of your own needs, so you are better able to support the people you care about. When you take care of yourself and are not stressed, you are better able to meet the needs of others.
Self-care comes in a variety of forms. It does not require an elaborate plan; self-care can be as simple as taking a deep breath when you notice you are becoming stressed. By maintaining your physical and mental health, you will likely be better equipped to handle the stressors that come along with supporting someone you care about.
Take a look at this list, and check in with yourself. It’s important and healthy to acknowledge your limits.
Do you feel…
- Anxious or full of worry?
- Unable to concentrate?
- Achy or sick more than usual?
- Sad or generally unhappy?
- Overwhelmed and constantly worried?
- Irritable or short tempered?
- Tired often?
- Lonely or alone?
Are you having trouble…
- Remembering things?
- Getting your work done?
- Making good decisions?
- Used alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to “feel better”?
- Been sleeping too much or too little?
- Been eating too much or too little?
- Gained or lost weight?
- Isolated yourself from friends and family?
- Neglected responsibilities?
- Lost interest in activities you used to enjoy?
These can all be signs and symptoms of stress. If you think stress-overload might be affecting your life, there is something you can do about it.
Self-Care Strategies for Managing Stress
Self-care, as the word itself suggests, is what we do to take care of ourselves. When we get stressed out, we tend to ignore the very things that might make us feel better, so it is important to find time to take care of yourself.
Remain socially connected. When you are supporting someone else, it can be easy to lose sight of your other social connections. It is important stay in touch with your family and friends who can offer support. Set aside some time each week to spend time with others in your support network.