Simple Self-Care Tools to Have on Hand When You Need Them
I know, I keep harping on the importance of self-care. The thing is, I know caregivers need the reminders, just like I need the reminders. I keep putting self-care on my calendar and weekly to do list and I still only successfully practice self-care 50% of the time, if that!
If you want to practice self-care but can’t seem to make it happen, you need to make it part of your routine (so do I!). One way to make it part of your daily or weekly routine is to have whatever you need to practice self-care ready to go so that you don’t spend time looking for your self-care tools.
Creating A Virtual and Physical Self-Care Toolbox
So how can you create a self-care toolbox? Well, you can start by bookmarking this page on my site! I’m going to share some websites where you can practice free self-care. You can also create a home for your physical self-care items so that you know where to go when you have a few moments to dedicate to self-care.
Here are some digital resources to help you with your self-care practice. They are all short so that you can squeeze in self-care even if you only have a few moments.
- UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC): If you aren’t fortunate enough to live in the Los Angeles area where you can attend free UCLA MARC mindfulness classes, you can still benefit from their free guided meditations. You can listen to them from your computer or tablet, or you can download them to your phone and listen whenever you have time.
- Mindful Meditation on YouTube: A quick search on YouTube pulls up several mindful meditation videos. If you prefer to stick with someone you’ve heard of, Deepak Chopra has dozens of videos on YouTube. Some of the videos focus on affirmations and others are guided meditations.
- Mindful Apps on Your Phone: If you don’t want to be chained to your computer, you can also download mindful apps (in addition to the UCLA MARC apps). I have tried and enjoyed Headspace (only free for a trial period) and Take a Break! – Guided meditations. While looking for new apps, I came across a few other free apps I want to try: Gaia: Conscious Yoga, Meditation and Spirit, Meditation – Sleep sounds, Yoga & Balance and Daily10 – Meditation and relaxation platform.
- Stretches: If meditation isn’t your thing, consider doing stretches as part of your self-care routine. I did a bit of hunting and found a few good free videos.
This video is almost 30 minutes, so you’ll need to carve out a bit of time for it. It would be a great video to do with your caree if you can’t take that time away. Here’s another 30 minute video to give yoga a try at home.
If you don’t have 30 minutes to spare, try this three minute video for your legs and lower back.
If none of these videos appeal to you, visit YouTube and search for the type of stretching you are interested in. I guarantee you’ll find something that interests you.
At-Home Self-Care Toolbox
If you haven’t already designated a relaxing self-care zone in your home, set aside a corner for your self-care. I just did a little clean out in my bedroom and set up an extra dining room chair with a cozy pillow between my vanity and nightstand. It didn’t cost me a cent but I now have one little space in my room specifically for self-care.
Once you’ve set up your zone, store some of your self-care tools there. If you’re struggling to figure out what self-care items to include, I’ll share a few of my favorite self-care tools.
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- Adult coloring books and colored pencils: I’m sure by now, you’ve heard about adult coloring. If you haven’t heard about the benefits of adult coloring, here are a few: coloring relieves stress and reduces anxiety, builds mental strength and encourages you to be present. You can find adult coloring books at bookstores, drug stores and even your local dollar store.
- Books: I love reading so books are my favorite self-care tool. I usually read on my iPad since I like to read at night in the dark, so I keep my iPad next to my bed. If you are looking for some books to read, here are a few of my favorite books: Unbroken, All The Light We Can Not See, The Goldfinch, The Friday Night Knitting Club and The Memory Keeper’s Daughter.
- Relaxation Products: Maybe you don’t want to use your mind at the end of a long day. Maybe you’re just too tired to think. If that’s the case, keep some scented candles in a relaxing fragrance next to your bed – just be sure to blow it out before you fall asleep! You can also keep a nice, luxurious hand or foot cream next to your bed that makes you feel like you’re at a spa. I use this fancy hand cream every night before bed. It lasts forever since I only use it at night.
- Self-Massage Self-Care: If your body is worn out from all of your caregiving duties, invest in a few self-massage or body relaxation tools. Incorporate them into your bedtime routine to make sure you practice self-care before going to bed.