Caregiving and Healthy Habits
Being a family caregiver takes a toll on your overall wellbeing. Since the role can take up a lot of your time, it may start to impact the amount of self-care you are able to give yourself. Of course, this is not your fault. Caregiving is a challenging and demanding job. But it is important not to sacrifice your own personal health since being healthy is crucial to being a good caregiver. We recommend doing whatever you can to find some time for healthy habits, since pursuing these habits can have profound beneficial physical and psychological impacts. Below we will discuss just some habits that you can pursue. You do not need to pursue every single one, but the more the better! We hope that these can also inspire some other ideas in you.
- Exercise: This can take the form of going for a walk in the morning or after work, going to the gym, or playing a sport (like golf). Do whatever you are capable of doing, and try to write it into a consistent schedule. Physical exercise not only has benefits for your physical wellbeing, but it can help alleviate stress and promote deeper sleep at night!
- Keep your mind active without anxiety: Take an hour a day to read a chapter from your favorite book, do a puzzle, or pursue another hobby. Doing activities you like can put you in a better mood and help you compartmentalize stressors in your life, so you can problem-solve more efficiently.
- Set goals: Goals can come in any shape or form, whether it is a fitness goal, a vacation, or even cooking a meal from a new recipe. Whatever the goal is, write it down in a visible place and write down the steps you need to achieve that goal. This will help keep you accountable to pursue what it is you are aiming for!
- Rest! We cannot overemphasize the importance of rest, whether it is taking a break for an hour or getting enough sleep at night. Rest is super important to revitalizing yourself and heighten your energy levels. This is especially true when it comes to sleep. Aim for at least seven hours of sleep every night, but ideally you should get eight or more. This may sound unlikely for a lot of people! But remember, there is nothing heroic about depriving yourself of sleep. You need sleep to function and to keep your mental health stable. It is crucial.
- Journal: Writing down your thoughts can help you identify problems and compartmentalize different stressors in your life. For instance, if you are feeling anxious about a particular thing, it is not productive to let that anxious thought drill a hole in your head, stressing you out or keeping you from sleeping. Writing it down with some additional thoughts can help you store that memory away, come back to it at a later time, and re-think about the issue. Journaling is a very healthy outlet to handle stress.
- Eat Healthy: Eating healthy can look different depending on what culture you come from and what kind of food you like to eat. Finding nutrition advice can often be confusing since so much contradictory recommendations exist out there. Ultimately, it comes down to eating enough food everyday (three meals, at least!), reducing foods high in saturated fats (like deep-fried foods), and avoiding high amounts of processed sugars (like from candies and sodas). Instead, eat full servings of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and nuts.
If you have any more questions about healthy habits you can pursue, give ElderCare at Home a call at 888-285-0093 or visit our website!