Being caregivers is something we are, not something we do!  But as overwhelming and all-consuming  as caregiving often feels, we can all take solace   in the fact that it is rarely all we are.  We are also people with vast interests, vibrant personal lives and needs.   It is our hope that the suggestions below might help you remember to celebrate and nurture yourself as you give care to your loved one:

  1. Journaling.  Create a journal about art, nature, gratitude, poetry, begin or end every day by recording something that touched your life in a good way.
  2. Gardening.  Watch life “spring” into renewal around you by planting some bulbs or seeds, indoors or out, herbs or blooming, and.
  3. The Luxurious Bath.  Go ahead. You have our permission to try new bath oils, luxurious scents for your next bar of soap, or shower gel and slowly and deeply inhale the delicious aroma of lavender, vanilla bean or citrus.
  4. Date Night or Day.  Whether it is a movie, cup of coffee or a hike in a special place, you should invite a friend on a date and take the time to share the small things in life.
  5. Take a Day Off.  Ask for help and schedule a nap, a massage, a bath or an outing just for yourself.
  6. Aroma Therapy.  Relax with the soothing flavors of blueberry, mango, citrus or vanilla hazelnut by brewing a fresh cup of coffee or tea.
  7. An In Town Day Trip. Make plans to attend a museum exhibit , a  lecture or ranger guided outdoor group.
  8. Book Clubs.  Commit to the stimulation and support of others’ stories and observations of the latest New York Times best sellers.
  9. Explore.  Find a new path in your neighborhood and resolve to walk it, or explore another, at least once a week.
  10. Gratitude Letters.  Write a letter or note to an understanding friend or family member telling them how you are and asking them to share their life’s tasks and adventures with you.

Maybe most important: revisit these ideas regularly, place this list in your daily “to-dos” and add your own special ways of nurturing yourself as a caregiver. Most importantly,  commit to finding ways of DOING them! YOU (and your care-receiver) deserve your best!

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