How to Take Care of Yourself When You’re Caring for a Loved One
As a caregiver, you’re no stranger to physical and emotional exhaustion. But if you’re like many other caregivers, you may have come to accept that living in a relentlessly drained state is just part of your role. But what if it wasn’t? What if there were realistic ways to foster your own health and well-being and recharge each day?
Fortunately, there are! And practicing self-care not only helps you, but it will also allow you to provide your loved one with better care. Consider these practical self-care tips from Senior Care Central to help you start your new life:
Delegate Household Tasks
When you are a caregiver, your home should be a peaceful retreat to which you can go after a long day. That applies whether you live with your loved one or not. The problem is, if you are busy, trying to fit in all of your household tasks to keep your home well-maintained can stress you out. Rather than let that happen, think about services that you can hire out to others.
Socialize on the Regular
Caregiving can be extremely isolating. And you might feel like you don’t have time to spend with other important people in your life. However, as a social being, it is critical to interact and maintain relationships with close friends and relatives. Try to carve out time in your schedule for others, and it will improve your overall quality of life.
One option is planning fun outings either for just you, or for you and your loved one. These could include a trip to the park or a museum, or perhaps a baseball game where you can sit and relax in the fresh air. For instance, you can browse ticket prices for the Dodgers well in advance, and you don’t have to worry about hidden fees getting between you and that stadium hot dog.
Focus Your Nutrition
This is probably no surprise to you, but it’s worth repeating, your diet matters a great deal. Try eating clean foods for a month and see if you don’t notice big changes in how you feel. You can start simply by basing your diet around lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Exercise Every Day
One of the most effective ways to reduce stress in your life is to work out on a regular basis. There are countless physical activities that can help you break a sweat and get those endorphins flowing! Don’t be afraid to try everything from running to cycling, from weightlifting to yoga. And try to exercise outdoors whenever possible to get the added benefits of sunshine.
Do Breathing Exercises
There are many different types of breathing exercises that can benefit your mental health. But one of the easiest ones to start with is breath awareness.
Sit in a comfortable position on a cushion or chair, close your eyes, and focus on your breath. You will probably have distracting thoughts, but keep focusing on your breath and they will pass. Then, take a slow breath through your nose for five seconds, hold your breath for five seconds, and exhale for five seconds. Do this repeatedly for ten minutes, and you will notice a deep relaxation come over your mind, body, and soul.
Sleep and Relax
When you’re stressed out, it can be really difficult to sleep. But there is no way you can be an effective caregiver and maintain your quality of life long-term if you live in a sleep-deprived state.
Be conscious of the caffeine you consume and the food you eat after lunch and find relaxing activities you can do before bed that will help you unwind. Pick up a print book, take a long bath, or do some light yoga stretches. And make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool.
If you want to be the best caregiver you can be without sacrificing your mental health in the process, it’s essential to practice self-care. The ideas above can get you off to a great start, but keep looking for other ways you can foster your health and wellness as you carry out one of the hardest jobs in the world. In no time, you’ll find yourself feeling better, becoming more patient, and getting more out of your everyday life!