Healthy Habits for Caregivers
by ElderCare at Home
It is essential for family caregivers to adopt healthy lifestyle habits. Adopting such habits is crucial not just for your own overall well-being, but for the well-being of your loved one, too. If you take care of yourself, then you can even perform your role as a caregiver more effectively. This blog will provide tips for maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle:
- Exercise: One place to start is increasing your physical activity. Exercise routines should be within your capabilities and should not be a source of extreme stress—you should be able to commit to it! Exercise should be doable, enjoyable, and stress relieving. The foremost thing would be to determine when you can exercise. Then determine the type of exercise you would like to do like walking, running, yoga, resistance training, or a combination of everything! Even spending some time outdoors in natural settings may be greatly beneficial for mental health. See ElderCare at Home’s blog on exercise for the elderly if applicable to your own circumstances. Before starting any exercise regimen, it is advisable to speak with your doctor and your loved one’s doctor if you intend on bringing them with you.
- Eating healthy: There are myriad studies, news segments, and documentaries reminding us that healthy eating is healthy living. We need not reiterate such information here. The primary things to remember would be to eat foods that are nutritious, fibrous, and that contain protein and healthy fats. Such examples of healthy foods include: fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, whole grains, nuts, olive oil, legumes, lean meats, unprocessed foods, and dairy products like milk and yogurt. We know that many people feel pressed for time, and cooking can be a large endeavor—but it doesn’t have to be! See this website for examples of quick and convenient ideas.
- Socialize: A fundamental component to being human is to be with other humans! Take time out of your day to talk to your loved one, friends, and family. Such time is necessary for your own mental well-being since it gives you the opportunity to express yourself, to hear from close friends, to laugh with others, or to discuss topics that interest you.
- Sleep! Researchers and medical professionals recommend at least 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. In order to achieve this goal, you can start a schedule detailing how to plan your evenings so you can ensure that you are in bed at a particular time. If you are interrupted during the night because of caregiving duties, then you might consider finding caregiving services from a nurse registry like ElderCare at Home if it is within your financial means. If such services do not seem feasible, then you may consider asking a family member or close friend to help you some evenings. All this is to say that finding a healthy sleeping pattern should be a priority since sleep helps keep you alert, energized, and more focused.
Many of these activities apply to both you as the family caregiver and your loved one. You can even perform some of these activities together if you think that it is possible for your loved one (considering you provide the proper assistance). Just be sure to speak with your loved one’s physician before starting any kind of physical activity.
And if you decide to take time for yourself, then remember that this is not a selfish act but a necessity for physical, emotional, and mental well-being. See ElderCare at Home’s previous blog concerning this topic. Above all, taking care of your mind and body will make sure you perform better in many aspects of your life.