We all know that self-care for parents and caregivers is essential, but it can be tricky to find the time and motivation. And when there is extra stress and additional responsibilities due to end-of-year events, planning Christmas celebrations and juggling new routines, it can be even more challenging.
So, we’re here to give you a head start with our self-care Christmas shortlist. We’ve picked a podcast, a book and an app that focus on wellbeing and come highly recommended. We also asked our staff and volunteer Support Parents for their favourite ways to take time out, or what they’d gift themselves for Christmas as an act of self-care, with a $40 limit in honour of our 40th anniversary this year. We hope you’ll get some new ideas and be inspired to give yourself the gift of self-care this Christmas!
Theresa Wilbanks and Alison van Schie, both Certified Caregiving Consultants, explore the 12 Strategies for Sustainable Caregiving. The strategies are designed to enhance your caregiving experience and be incorporated into daily life. Not all strategies will be applicable to your situation right now, but you can go back to them should the need arise.
Theresa founded Sustainable Caregiving and works with fellow family caregivers to help them navigate their caregiving journey. Theresa shares her story and strategies in this book, which is divided into two parts: strategies to help calm the emotions and strategies to manage the more practical matters.
This app offers a personalised meditation programme designed to help calm anxiety, reduce stress and improve your sleep. It is currently free for the first year. After that, a subscription charge applies. Recommended by a member of the S&I team.
Staff and Support Parent ideas:
- “I’d buy gratitude journals for the rest of our family. It has worked well for my eldest and me to focus on three things we are grateful for each time we have a tough day. I love taking a moment to read what he’s written: friends, words, video calls, medicine and ice cream are my favorites so far!”
- “I’d buy myself a new recipe book (I have my eye on Recipe Tin Eats: Dinner). I’d buy some chocolate at the same time, make a good coffee, and sit and read the book and eat the chocolate, and then I’d ignore my family for the afternoon and spend time in the kitchen trying out some new recipes (would be even better if everyone left the house for the day and I was home alone!)”
- “I’d buy myself a magnolia-scented candle, light it while having a bubble bath, and do the breathing exercises from the Renew workshop workbook.”
- “I’d like to buy myself a gift voucher for a hobby I’m interested in.”
- “The easiest form of self-care for me is pottering around outside in my vegetable garden every day, even if it’s only for 5 minutes, to check on how things are growing. It’s my quiet alone time and I love it.”
- “I’d like to take the dogs down to a quiet beach and let them run free while I collected shells and driftwood.”
- “I’d go to my favourite beauty salon and treat myself to an eyebrow tint and shape.”
- “I’d treat myself and go on my own to the Lido Cinema to see a movie I’ve been wanting to see.”
- “A simple walk with the dogs at the riverbank, beach or anywhere where they can be off the lead and run around. I get to see my dogs happy and I get some exercise.”
- “I would take time to get back to nature – a walk along the beach, in the bush, up to a lookout. With $40 I would shout myself and a friend some coffee and an ice cream (from Copenhagen Cones in Mt Maunganui to be precise!). I also enjoy going to see a movie when I can – by myself 🙂.”
- “I would spend it taking a friend for coffee and a catch-up; this is my favourite self-care activity! A good laugh and great coffee (or two) are what refills my cup!”
- “A new sunhat in anticipation of my month off lazing on the beach”
- “A beach 🏖️ bag to hold my gear as I’m learning to swim with more confidence in New Zealand’s warmer water for relaxation and exercise.”
- “A good book and a box of scorched almonds.”
- “Some solar lights for around our inflatable spa, so I’m not out there alone in the dark.”