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Go ahead and treat yourself

Caring for others begins with you
By Dr. Rhonda Collins
Revera was the first company in the Canadian senior living sector to appoint a Chief Medical Officer. In her blog series, Dr. Rhonda Collins offers helpful advice for seniors to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.

July 24 is International Self-Care Day and I cannot think of anybody who needs to practise self-care more than care givers, including Revera’s employees and the families of those they support. Often, we prioritize the care of our loved ones at the expense of ourselves.

Daily, we must juggle so many responsibilities in our lives: work, home, family and social commitments are just a few. Some of us have young children or older adults in our lives. Others are dealing with health issues for themselves or a loved one. Often, the demands of daily life can become overwhelming and self-care is the first thing to be abandoned, so we can complete the other important tasks on our schedules.
“Self-care is not something you do occasionally, and it should not be a reward for checking items off your to-do list.”
However, the more we ignore caring for ourselves, the harder it is to complete those other tasks. Not caring for ourselves creates more stress, which further negatively impacts our health. Some people feel guilty practising self-care, but it is necessary for us to do if we wish to continue helping others.

Self-care is about recognizing when you need to slow down or even stop what you’re doing. More importantly, it’s not only identifying your needs, but meeting those needs. These needs may be physical, spiritual, emotional or social. Perhaps it is spending more time with friends, going to the gym, drinking more water, making healthier food choices, taking a walk or riding a bike. Maybe, it is just finding some private time to meditate, reflect or practise other mindfulness techniques.

Self-care is not something you do occasionally, and it should not be a reward for checking items off your to-do list. It must become part of your routine. You need to make time in your schedule, whether daily or weekly, and treat it as you would any other item on your calendar. Plan to relax, enjoy that cup of tea, get a pedicure, meet a friend for lunch or read a book. If you wait for these things to happen, they will likely be forgotten. Take the time to recharge your batteries and nourish your soul.

So, for everyone who supports the well-being and health of others, remember to take care of yourself. If you care for yourself as well as you care for others imagine how much happier and healthier you will be.
Rhonda Collins
By Dr. Rhonda Collins
Dr. Rhonda Collins brings passion and expertise in memory care, dementia, falls prevention and clinical quality improvement to the role of Revera’s Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Collins is a family physician with a certificate of added competence in Care of the Elderly from the College of Family Physicians of Canada.