Caregivers: Staying Healthy
Caregiving can be very stressful for many people. Rightly so. It demands a lot of time, energy, and care. As a result, you may find yourself unable to balance a healthy lifestyle along with the demands of being a caregiver. Being conscious of health can be tough, but we hope with these tips you can find ways to integrate healthy habits into your daily routine. Healthy habits include exercise, sleeping throughout the night, eating well, socializing with friends, intimacy with partners, etc. We understand that it may be difficult to balance all of this while being a caregiver. However, the more you care for yourself, the better able you will be able to handle the stresses of caregiving along with caring for your loved one. For example, one component of a healthy lifestyle is a good and consistent sleep schedule. If you sleep, you won’t be as tired or stressed when handling difficult situations you may encounter as a caregiver. Thus, we think that the following habits will help you in prioritizing your health so that others around you can benefit.
Here are some tips for a healthy lifestyle:
- Set small, achievable goals: Never set goals that are unattainable. First, visualize what you want to improve in your life. You likely know exactly what you need, whether it’s more sleep, exercise, a healthier diet, more alone time, meditation, etc. Think of what you want, and try to achieve it two to three times a week. Then, after a few weeks, try to increase the amount of time you devote to your wellbeing. For instance, if you have trouble finding time to exercise, set aside thirty minutes one day and just go for a walk. Try to go for three walks in one week. After a couple of weeks, you may want to start adding more days where you walk, or even introduce a newer exercise routine. The overall point is to set a goal that you can definitely reach at first, so you can stay motivated to take the next step.
- Sleep: ElderCare has written a lot about the importance of sleep. That’s because it is crucial to normal functioning. Sleep can help regulate your body weight, keep your brain healthy, reduce anxiety and stress, and promote more energy throughout the day. In this busy and fast-paced society, we are constantly told that sleeping is “lazy” or “weak.” We must get over these incorrect assumptions about sleep and recognize that sleep is fundamental to our existence. Sleep literally “cleans” our brains of toxins, it restores our bodies (especially after exercise), and it keeps us psychologically balanced. Sleeping at least seven to eight hours a night is ideal. Some people may need even more hours than that. Additionally, contrary to common belief, it is not true that older individuals need less sleep. In fact, research is finding that people of all ages need around the same amount of sleep. If you have trouble falling or staying asleep, then consult with your doctor, as well as set a strict bedtime for yourself. Getting into a healthy sleeping pattern can take weeks, so do not give up on it.
- Acknowledge Personal Limitations: Some people don’t know when to say “no.” Many people falsely believe that they can take anything on, even if it means sacrificing other things that are important to them. We encourage you to double check yourself next time you are adding additional responsibilities to your already hectic schedule. Recognize that focusing on your own health is not selfish, and it is okay to say “no” sometimes. Also, ask for help if you need it. Often, receiving help from family members or hiring a professional caregiver, even for a few hours, can take off a huge burden. Pay attention to your current stress load, and do not be ashamed to remove some responsibilities if you are reaching your breaking point. After all, your loved one depends on you, so you have to make sure you are capable of handling yourself before you help with their situation.
If you have any questions, please call ElderCare at Home at 888-285-0093 or visit our website.