Have you recently evaluated your daily routine to examine changes you can make to ensure your well-being is in check?
My 2021 goal continues to focus on self-care by devoting 45 minutes to myself every day. It sounds easy, but I did not realize that some days can be more challenging than others. There are some weeks where I get up early around 5 a.m. and can accomplish a lot prior to the start of the workday. There are other days where I wake up just in time to make coffee and log in for work that morning.
When I became my mom’s caregiver I thought I was the superwoman who could handle anything. Little did I know working full-time, caring for mom, cooking, cleaning, networking and trying to work out would take a toll on me three years later, even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What COVID-19 taught me
It was during the pandemic that I realized I am no longer the superwoman I thought I once was. Caring for a parent is mentally and physically challenging. I did not realize transferring my mom out of her hospital bed to the chair would be mentally exhausting and physically taxing on my body.
Then there is her daily sponge bath. I would have to tread lightly depending on her sudden mood changes. An off mood of hers, unfortunately, sets the tone for my day. Performing all these caregiving duties and then switching to my other full-time job as a manager who ensures daily production goals are met is a multi-tasking art in itself.
Modifications that helped me
A lot of people are unable to adapt to change, but as a caregiver I have learned to be flexible. It is okay if my schedule has some slight deviations. It has been about three weeks since I made the modifications below, and I feel mentally and physically stronger. I would like to share with you what I have done to address my self-care in hopes of inspiring others to do the same:
- I made changes to my workout routine (primarily due to scheduled classes) and focused on virtual classes that are accessible anytime.
- Next, I stopped setting an alarm seven days a week, even during the weekends. It is OK to sleep in during the weekends and go at your own pace.
- Now, I work out during morning hours prior to work, so I am more energized throughout the day.
- I also meal prep in advance. The Air Fryer and InstaPot are convenient kitchen accessories that I use frequently.
- It has helped reducing my time on social media.
- Additionally, I write my goals in my passion planner, so I am held accountable and can review what I’ve done.
- After that, I try to learn something new outside my professional area.
- Finally, I’ve started designating one day a month as my “self-care day.”
- I’ve realized that it is OK to say “no.”
What is needed next
As a caregiver, I realize that I am more consciousness and understanding of my staff’s needs. I encourage my team to take time off and focus on themselves, and every Wednesday I try to post a #WellnessWednesday post on Microsoft Teams to encourage them to look after their well-being.
Most importantly, I realize change is necessary in order for me to be happy with myself so I in turn can care for my mom and my team.
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Usha Tewari is a first-generation Indian-American born and raised in Orlando. Ms. Tewari has over 14 years of experience working for elected officials at the federal and local levels. She currently works full-time in local government managing 13 individuals and is a caregiver to her mother who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s/Dementia. In 2019, she was Orlando Magazine’s “Woman of the Year” with her advocacy efforts. In her spare time, she devotes herself to advancing Alzheimer’s/Dementia awareness at the grassroots level in her community as well as Tallahassee and Washington D.C. She serves as an Alzheimer’s Ambassador for Congresswoman Demings.