Calling All Caregivers: A Day to Put Yourself First

I was surprised to learn that today, July 24, was International Self-Care Day (ISD). ISD is a worldwide campaign objective to celebrate the importance of self-care and to encourage the general public to practice it responsibly.

Some of you may be asking yourself what constitutes self-care. According to the World Health Organization:

"Self-care is health refers to the activities individuals, families and communities undertake with the intention of enhancing health, preventing disease, limiting illness, and restoring health."

Self-care is extremely important for any caregiver as your needs often come second to the person you are caring for, leading to caregiver burnout.

I have dabbled in self-care over the years, but had not committed to a consistent practice until the beginning of this month. I made a conscious decision to do one small thing every day that was just for me. This has taken several forms from yoga and reading, to revelling in a guilty pleasure like chocolate. Let me tell you, it feels good!

I take stock of how I am doing emotionally, mentally and physically and looking at what brings me down. I practice self-care by doing what builds me up instead and putting my priorities first. 

Since starting this journey, self-care has helped me alleviate negative energy, relax and recharge. By taking care of yourself, you can become a better caregiver. 

Self-care is a daily, lifelong habit and culture. Happy International Self-Care Day to one and all!

For more information about what self-care involves, visit the Alzheimer Society of Canada.