By Jennifer Wofford
The Cambridge Dictionary defines a caregiver as someone who takes care of a person who is young, old, sick, or disabled (=having an illness, injury, or condition that makes it difficult for them to do some things that other people do), either as a family member or friend or as a job. (1)
People become caregivers in a variety of different ways, some are born as natural caregivers, some are made into caregivers due to life events, and some choose it as a career. However, as that path unfolds, the need for the caregiver to be cared for remains. As caregivers, we give so much of ourselves to our family, friends, or job that we don’t realize that we are lacking in the receiving end of care and many times are pouring from an empty cup. It is of vital importance that caregivers have their cups refilled and maintained. Now whether that is through receiving from others or our acts of self-love or self-care, it is imperative. In this blog, we are going to address the self-love or self-care aspect because, without a doubt, we all need to focus on ourselves for a few minutes every day.
It is not wrong, self-absorbed, or egotistical to make yourself a priority. If we do not protect and nurture our mental and emotional health, we are not physically healthy and we cannot take care of others in the way we, and they, need.
All it takes is 20 to 30 minutes a day of quality time with us doing something that makes us feel good. What that activity is, is completely your choice, just make sure it is something that makes you feel good and brings you joy or peace. It can be as simple as walking your dog for 10 to 15 minutes twice a day, turning up your favorite music and dancing in your home, stopping at your favorite coffee shop on the way home from running errands or burning your favorite incense or candle. If you prefer something more spiritual, prayer, meditation, or listening to positive affirmations are all easy and can also be done in short multiple sessions throughout the day. A few of my favorite activities are Epsom salt baths, hiking, finding somewhere to sit near water, or listening to overnight subliminal positive affirmation recordings.
In honor of National Caregiver’s Month take just a moment, drink some water, take a few deep breaths, and think about the last time you showed yourself some self-love or gave yourself some self-care. Now, go plan that weekend or week-long trip, eat that cheeseburger, and schedule that weekly dinner date night with your significant other or your friends. Find what works for you and just take the time to do it.
Fill your cup to overflowing so that you have enough not only for you but to pour out to whoever needs it, and then keep it filled…. You owe it to yourself and to those that you are caring for.
You are more than worth it!
CMSA is offering this free resource that will provide case managers with the information to communicate their value to multiple stakeholders. To download your free copy of "Communicating Your Value: The Case Managers Guide" click here: https://cmsa.org/cmsa-cfcm-position-paper-2023/
Bio: Jennifer Wofford has over 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry and is currently employed by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services as the Health Information Coordinator at the Oklahoma Forensic Center. Jennifer also serves as the President of the Board of Directors for Trickster Cultural Center.