5 Ways for Caretakers to Make Your Well-Being a Priority
Studies show that now more than ever, today’s women are disproportionately responsible for caring for children, doing laundry, cooking and cleaning, despite many having full-time careers. What’s more, when compared to their male counterparts, women are also more likely to report having difficulty finding the time to manage their physical, mental and emotional health. 1
While this may not be a surprise, when you’re constantly putting energy into caring for others, your own well-being, job performance and stamina may suffer, potentially causing burnout and even physical manifestations of stress.
You deserve to be healthy and well! With so much relying on you, it’s important to find the time to make your well-being a priority. Once you make the choice to take care of yourself, you’ll be able create a more balanced life, focus on your financial fitness and live confidently. Here are five ways to get you started.
1. TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF EACH DAY
Take a few minutes to practice self-care each day. You don’t have to hire a babysitter or spend a lot of money. Instead, setting aside 15 to 20 minutes to relax and do something you enjoy can have a really positive impact on your well-being.
Try putting on some calming music and allow yourself to tune out the pressure and just “be.” You might also use your “me time” to read for 20 minutes, meditate or have a friend watch your children so you can take a quick walk or even a nap.
Take social media breaks. It’s far too easy to get sucked into negativity that will only add more stress to your life.
2. DON’T NEGLECT YOUR SOCIAL WELLNESS
The COVID-19 pandemic has left many women and caretakers feeling socially isolated. However, positive social habits are more important than you may think. Having a social network offers a support system and helps you focus on your physical and mental wellness. The National Institutes of Health’s Social Wellness Checklist provides tips for connecting with others while also taking care of yourself. Remember to exercise caution and maintain physical distance, so plan a zoom get-together, a socially distanced walk or hike, or pick up good old-fashioned pen and paper and start a correspondence chain with a group of friends. While it still may be quite some time before we are planning a neighborhood potluck again, staying connected to a community and building a support network can still happen.
3. EAT WELL AND EXERCISE
If you’re not physically healthy, everything else becomes more difficult. Support your physical health by taking the time to eat well-balanced meals and get at least a minimal amount of exercise. Using a fitness tracker or smartphone apps helps keep your health in check, even when you’re busy. Leverage meal-style grocery delivery services that provide healthful food and the recipe to take the guess work, and leg work, out of prepping, shopping and making meals.
4. RECRUIT FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Recruiting family, friends, and your community to join you in exercising and eating well will help keep you motivated and give you a stronger sense of purpose. There are some easy steps you can take to organize health-focused community activities, such as:
- Choose a community focus, like school, workplace or place of worship, and learn about the community’s needs and strengths – are there sidewalks in the neighborhood or is information on healthy eat on bulletin boards in your school or workplace.
- Use the pairing strategy: choose an activity that promotes healthy eating or physical activity like weekly healthy cooking classes or an after-work yoga group or even a school garden project for growing fruits and vegetables.
- Team up with people or groups in your community for ideas, support, and feedback. Partners can help with audience outreach, securing a facility, funding, and creating materials while developing relationships as you work together on a common goal.
5. FOCUS ON YOUR FINANCIAL FITNESS
Financial problems are typically the biggest cause of stress for women2. Making your financial fitness a priority will help lower your stress, give you a sense of empowerment and improve your self-confidence.
Take tangible steps today to gain more control over your finances. If you don’t already have a household budget in place, now is a great time to create one. Living within your means helps you feel more confident and allows you to find opportunities to build your savings. Next, put your savings on auto-pilot. This will allow you to create a solid foundation for building a comfortable financial future.
Remember that you don’t have to do it alone. Seeking out the help of a financial professional will give you the support you need to make positive changes without creating additional stress.
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2021-118004 Exp 03/23
1, 2 Guardian Study, Workforce 2020: Women and Well-Being