Episode 149:

Why Is Self-Love So Challenging As A Caregiver?

Hello and welcome to another episode of The Caregiver Cup Podcast.   Today we’re diving into our 3rd episode on self-care but this one, my friend, is my favorite.   Once we understand all the parts of self-care, you will better see your personal path.  

Self-care is personal, it’s your thoughts and feelings (your self-worth), it’s being kind to yourself (your self-compassion), it’s growth and taking action (your self-love) and it’s your beliefs and purpose, who you are (your values)

So today it’s all about your growth and taking action.  

What is self-love? 

Before a person is able to practice it, first we need to understand what it means.

Self-love is a state of appreciation for yourself that grows from actions that support your physical, psychological and spiritual growth. 

Self-love means having a high regard for your own well-being and happiness. 

I know exactly what you are thinking.   I can’t right now.   It’s all about my loved one.  It sure is but it also means protecting yourself for this long marathon.  You may not be able to have the same self-care and self-love choices you had in the past right now, so you may have to adjust it.  

Self-love means taking care of your own needs and not sacrificing your well-being to please others. 

We practice self-love by being kinder and gentler to ourselves, without indulging the inner-critic and without judgment.

In other words, self-love involves shifting our focus inward not outward, setting healthy boundaries you might not be used to setting, no longer denying your innermost needs, and adopting a new perspective.  It's also about  removing those stories in your head that are dependent on the actions or words of others, - people pleaser.

It’s also about doing acts of self-care like rest, pampering, and participating in activities that improve our mood or bring us joy. 

But it’s important to remember that self-love isn’t self-indulgence, and isn’t an excuse to let yourself off the hook.  You can take the steps to fuel our self-love, rather than allowing negative thinking to fuel a self-perception that isn’t very loving.

Self-love means not settling for less than you deserve.

So why is self-love so challenging as a caregiver?  

There are many reasons that it can be difficult to practice self-love. Some of those reasons stem from a misunderstanding of what it means to do so.

You are dealing with competing priorities and most importantly, your brain has a hard time justifying the benefits of YOU.  You may feel that it feels wrong to be happy or joyful or have time by yourself. 

Your inner voice self-criticizes your decision to make choices and change.   You want to show up with more energy, less fatigue, more joy and less anger.   

But reality is the more you resist self-love, the more you’re likely to remain the same or worse your health suffers. 

But when we shift perspective, we can see the value and benefits of our self-love choices.   It will affect our caregiving - the productivity, your mindset and emotions.  

How to practice self-love?

  1.  You have to buy into it!  You have to see the benefits of it.   It has to be your non-negotiable.      ) 
  2. Since we’re talking about non-negotiable - form a habit - make it part of your priority and schedule.   It’s not something you can put last on your schedule.    
  3. Find what works best for you.  For the season you are in.  You may have to try things and ease into it.  Especially if you are starting this as a new concept.  The whole purpose of self-love is to take care of  yourself and fill your cup each day. 
  4. Set healthy boundaries.  Communicate this with your loved one.   Commit to yourself and you will be your best self as a caregiver.

Here are a few suggestions 

  • Meditation - it can cultivate self-love.   Be still for 10 minutes or an hour - whatever works for you.  
  • Express gratitude to yourself:   When we express gratitude — for the qualities we possess or the day we’ve experienced — we are connecting with the things we value about ourselves. Self-appreciation is one route to self-love. Whether we say these things quietly to ourselves, or keep a list in a gratitude journal, the practice of acknowledging our strengths and achievements will help build that self-love over time and allow us to redirect our desire for external validation inwards.
  • Move your body.  It can clear your mind, release your stress, clear your mind.  You can listen to music while walking.  Dance away your negativity.  Get caught up in your garden and let go of your worry.  Get in that yoga pose and be proud of each stretch and know that it’s making you stronger physically and mentally.  
  • Sitting down and eating your meal.  Better yet, sit outside on the patio enjoy a great salad or our breakfast coffee. Your fueling your body and sitting a bit.  
  •   Connecting with a friend or community.  You don’t have to do this alone and when you give yourself support and ask for help, you are giving yourself the best self-love ever.  (ie waitress - bussing tables, cleaning up after a party)

Now I want you to hold your heart and tell yourself you deserve love. You deserve to be treated with care.  No one cares more about you than you. 

You know yourself more than others do.  You know when you are tired.  You know when you are stressed. You know when you are not yourself.     Each signal is your body and mind’s way of telling you that you are in pain or struggling.  So how are you taking care of her.

The same goes when you feel joy, happiness and contentment. Listen to her and recognize what you did today.  Fill yourself with more.  

One of my ultimate favorite quotes is from Lucille Ball

“Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line.  You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”

Caregiving is hard but giving yourself love makes it a bit easier when your emotions and body feels better.  

Support the show

Thank you for listening. Follow me by clicking on the links below:

 Don't Miss Future Episodes!

Subscribe Now on your favorite podcast site!



Curious? Take The Quiz!

Be a podcast guest

Are you a caregiver interested in sharing your story, your challenges and ways you are figuring out your new normal?  Click below and fill out a podcast guest application.  

Yes, I want to be a podcast guest