As a caregiver, taking care of others often becomes the primary focus, leaving little time for personal well-being. However, neglecting self-care can lead to burnout and hinder one’s ability to provide the best care to their loved ones.
That’s where Self-Care Bingo comes in – a fun and interactive approach to prioritize the caregiver’s well-being. Caregivers can not only improve their own health but also enhance their caregiving capabilities, resulting in a happier and more fulfilling caregiving journey.
Before we get into the game, keep in mind self-care is not selfish; it’s essential for a healthy mind, body, and soul. Engaging in some of the self-care activities on the board will give you numerous benefits, such as reducing stress, improving mental health, enhancing relationships, and achieving life balance.
You may think you don’t have time for games, but as a caregiver, it’s important to place self-care as a priority, as taking care of yourself enables you to provide better care to your loved ones.
Ready to play?
Get started on your self-care journey by downloading the printable self-care Bingo card found at the bottom of this post. Once you have it, go ahead and print it out. With every self-care idea you complete, simply shade in the box with a highlighter or use a BINGO dabber if you have one.
This activity can be enjoyed solo or with a family member or friend. Better yet, gather a group of friends, like a Caregiver Support Group, and make it a group experience. After you complete the self-care exercise(s), make sure to mark off each box.
Create a friendly competition by challenging others to be the first to complete 5 self-care exercises in a row, or aim to complete the entire board! When someone achieves BINGO, celebrate together, award a prize or consider planning a reward as a group to add even more excitement to the journey. Remember, the real prize lies in the sense of fulfillment and inner peace gained from embracing these self-care ideas.
Let’s get into the 24 self-care ideas on the bingo card:
- Take a 15 minute break – Temporarily detach from the caregiving responsibilities and take a break! Sit outside or in a chair away from the business of the day to read, listen to music or practice mindfulness.
- Attended a support group – Connect with others who understand your experiences and provide emotional support at a support group. There are numerous caregiver support groups online or consider joining Bonnie at the NWC Support Group.
- Do something creative – Write, draw, color, paint, garden, scrapbook, crochet, woodworking, or play an instrument!
- Treat yourself to a massage – Schedule a time to pamper yourself. Go have a massage to alleviate stress and reduce muscle tension. You could also treat yourself to a manicure or pedicure. Whatever you chose, make it a time to relax and rejuvenate.
- Eat one of your favorite foods – Indulge in one of your favorite foods–guilt free! Whether it’s a chocolate bar, a bowl of ice cream, or dining at your favorite restaurant, take the time to savor and enjoy the experience.
- Go for a walk – If you don’t usually walk a lot, just going outside for a little while is good for you. But if you enjoy walking regularly, treat yourself to a longer and relaxed walk without any distractions, like your dog stopping all the time, so you can really enjoy the things around you.
- Watch the sun set – Find a tranquil spot near a window, on a porch, or a clubhouse patio to enjoy nature’s beauty, offering moments of relaxation and reflection, providing a break from caregiver responsibilities.
- Watch a mindless TV show – Unwind, de-stress, and temporarily escape from the demands of caregiving by watching a light-hearted, easy-to-follow show that doesn’t require much mental engagement or deep thought. Examples may include comedies, sitcoms, or game shows.
- Read a chapter of a book – Escape into different world and stimulate your minds through a good book. Find a time that is completely quiet so you can read or listen to at least one chapter.
- Have tea or coffee with a friend – Recharge emotionally, share experiences, and receive much-needed support and understanding by sharing a cup of coffee or tea with a trusted friend.
- Try a new healthy recipe – Explore Pinterest for an easy healthy recipe that you think you’ll enjoy and dig in! Prioritizing your own nutrition and finding ways to fuel your body and boost energy levels are essential as a caregiver.
- Dance to a favorite song – Wherever you are, turn on a favorite song and take a few minutes to dance away your stress, uplift your spirits, and embrace moments of joy, whether dancing alone or inviting your loved one to join you!
- Stretch before bed – If you haven’t tried it yet, start stretching! It feels great and is an excellent way to wind down. Focus on areas that feel stiff, and if you need guidance, there are plenty of online resources available with various stretching exercises to help you get started.
- Play a game or do a puzzle – Allow yourself some time to sit and unwind, engaging your mind and enjoying much-needed moments of relaxation. Consider playing a board game with others or go solo with a game you can play on your phone/iPad. You can also have a table with a jigsaw puzzle set up and spend 15 minutes working on it.
- Catch up with a friend – It’s important to maintain your connection with your friends so take time to call or connect for lunch. This will help alleviate feelings of isolation and help you find emotional support with a trusted friend or family member.
- Listen to upbeat or calming music – Play your favorite songs while working or sitting alone to experience the positive impact music can have on your mood, reducing stress, promoting relaxation, and creating an enjoyable atmosphere.
- Perform a random act of kindness – Brighten someone’s day and foster a sense of fulfillment by doing something nice for someone else, such as bringing another caregiver dinner, buying a cup of coffee for the person in line behind you, or writing a heartfelt note. Remember, acts of kindness don’t have to be grand or costly – even the smallest gestures can make a significant impact on someone’s life.
- Hug a family member – Promote feelings of love and support within the family unit by giving a loved one a big hug. Hugging someone else can create a sense of warmth, comfort, and connection, fostering emotional well-being and strengthening interpersonal bonds.
- Work out for 30 minutes – Exercising is crucial for caregivers as it helps prioritize their physical health, reduces stress, and ensures they maintain the energy and strength necessary to provide the best possible care for others. Take a walk, go to the gym, do yoga or engage in a fitness class. Can’t get away, slip into the other room and turn on a fitness instructor on YouTube.
- Spend time on a hobby – Caregivers often set their hobbies aside, so it’s essential to take the time to engage in your favorite or explore a new hobby. Whether it’s crafting, cooking, birdwatching, or working on a DIY project, the possibilities are endless. Remember, we all need time for personal enjoyment, so don’t forget to enjoy your hobbies.
- Take a relaxing bath or shower – Enjoy a relaxing bath or shower to unwind and alleviate physical and mental fatigue. Adding bubbles or bath salts can make it a truly calming experience, allowing you to set aside your caregiver brain and focus on relaxation.
- Do something you have put off – Working on or finishing something you have procrastinated will reduce stress and anxiety, providing a sense of accomplishment and preventing tasks from piling up and becoming overwhelming.
- Take a nap or go to bed early – Recharge your energy, improve cognitive function, and promote overall well-being by making sure you are getting enough rest. As you know, it’s crucial to get sufficient sleep as a caregiver in order to care for your loved one.
- Schedule respite care – Caregivers need respite care to take essential breaks, alleviate burnout, and recharge physically and emotionally, ensuring sustainable caregiving in the long term. Consider utilizing our Respite Care Visits, adult day centers, or hiring a professional caregiver for a day or two a week to provide temporary relief from caregiving responsibilities. During this time, use the opportunity to fill in some of your BINGO squares by taking a bath, having a nap, connecting with a friend, or going for a walk.
Remember, self-care BINGO is all about prioritizing your well-being and finding joy in taking care of yourself. Embrace this rewarding approach to incorporate self-care into your daily routine, exploring new activities that bring you happiness and tranquility. Enjoy the process and make self-care a regular and fulfilling part of your life!