Take Care of Yourself

Being a caregiver is a rewarding yet difficult job that can take its toll on emotional, physical and mental health. Remember that in order to be a good caregiver, you must care for yourself first. Caregiver burnout is common, and it occurs when caregivers put themselves on the back burner. People depend on you, so keep in mind that by caring for yourself, you’re also caring for others.

Below are helpful tips to relieve stress and improve your immunity:

  • Eat a healthy diet that includes three meals and snacks. Don’t skip meals, either! Focus on fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, lean meats and fish and whole grains. For snacks, stick to those that will give you energy, such as nuts, trail mix, dried fruit and yogurt.
  • Get your checkups regularly. Get a flu shot during flu season. Preventative care is key in good health
  • Incorporate 30 minutes of physical exercise each day. If you don’t have time for the gym, take a walk with the family, play a dancing game on the Wii or go biking or hiking through your favorite setting.
  • Have a healthy sleep schedule. Don’t worry so much about getting your 8 hours; instead, go to bed and wake up at the same time. If you feel tired all the time, you need more sleep. Period.
  • Keep a journal. It helps to let out your feelings in a constructive manner instead of bottling them up inside.
  • Take time for yourself. All the responsibilities shouldn’t lie on you. If you’re not getting the help you need, ask for it directly. Otherwise, you may need to enlist help from an additional caregiver.
  • Have a plan for de-stressing. Too often, caregivers take on the entire burden but don’t ever release their stress. Whether it’s listening to classical music, taking a walk or reading a book, know the best outlets for de-stressing.
  • Set limits. You’re not a superhero, and you have limits. By setting them ahead of time, you’ll save yourself stress and keep expectations realistic.
  • Learn how to say no. You can’t do everything, so don’t say that you will. By learning how to say no directly, you’ll alleviate stress in certain areas of your life. Also, people will learn not to take advantage of you.
  • Talk to someone about your feelings, such as therapist, pastor or good friend. It feels good to talk about things, so make this a priority.

Blog sponsored by: Family Private Care