Staying Healthy as a Family Caregiver
Tips for rest, nutrition, managing stress and getting help.
When loved ones become ill or disabled, a family caregiver often steps in to attend to a variety of tasks. From personal care to shopping, cooking, and driving to medical appointments, the requirements of family caregiving can take significant time and resources.
If you’re providing care for a spouse or other family member, be sure to take time to care for yourself as well. Here are some tips to staying healthy as a family caregiver.
Caregivers Need Adequate Rest, Nutrition and Exercise
The CVS Health and Harris Poll data found 34% of caregivers are falling behind in prioritizing their own health. To keep your physical health in top condition, it’s critical that you set aside time for rest and exercise, as well as prioritizing the nutrition you need.
Many people express difficulty in carving out time for exercise, particularly busy caregivers who often feel pressed for time. Nevertheless, maintaining a regular exercise routine can provide advantages such as increased energy levels, enhanced sleep quality, uplifted mood and reduced stress. To maximize the benefits of physical activity, ensure your workouts include elements of strength training, aerobic exercises and stretching.
Speaking of rest, the average adult needs seven to nine hours per night to feel their best. The exact amount you require will vary, but if you feel tired throughout the day, you may need more.
To keep your body running at top condition, try to find ways to fit healthy eating into your busy schedule. The average American eats too much fat, salt and calories and not enough antioxidants and other essential nutrients. Eating according to the government’s guidelines can help you control your weight and reduce a number of health risks, experts say.
Manage Stress Levels
The emotional and physical demands for family caregivers can strain even the strongest person. Many resources and tools can help you care for your loved one and yourself. Make use of them. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to care for anyone else.
To maintain your emotional health as you care for your loved one, try to practice mindfulness, noticing the circumstances that elicit negative emotions. Once you recognize stressors, you can take steps to change them.
Consider relaxation methods such as meditation, yoga and deep breathing.
Ask for and Accept Help
Many family caregivers feel uncomfortable asking for help, feeling that they should be able to handle the responsibilities on their own. However, everyone needs help now and then. Other family members, as well as friends, may be willing to offer assistance but may not know how they can contribute. Make a list of ways in which others can help you. Then let them choose how to help. Ideas include taking regular walks with the person you care for, cooking a meal for you and helping with medical appointments.
Consider a Community Like Edgehill
Edgehill offers a range of living options, including your choice of 19 unique independent living floor plans, as well as memory care and sub-acute rehabilitation. At Edgehill, you or your loved one will enjoy welcoming accommodations along with a comprehensive array of supportive services and amenities you need to fully enjoy life. To learn more, please contact us today.