As caregivers, do you find it challenging to give yourself some TLC, also known as “self-care?” If so, you’re not alone. Nearly everyone who cares for a loved one experiences, at one time or another, symptoms of “caregiver burnout,” which include:
- Excessive use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs
- Poor eating habits
- Failure to make medical appointments for yourself
- Sleep deprivation
Caregiver burnout is a serious issue for caregivers. However, many caregivers have successfully improved their physical and mental states of mind through practicing good self-care.
Here are four steps you can take that will get you started on your way towards being a caregiver that takes good care of themselves, as well as their loved one.
1. Eat a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet benefits you physically, mentally, and emotionally. Nutritious, well-balanced meals will increase your energy and reduce sluggishness. Eating well also reduces your risk of cancer and heart disease.
Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Enjoy a variety of foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes, soy products, nuts, and seeds. A diet low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugars will serve you well
And don’t forget to drink plenty of water. Dehydration can lower your energy levels and can cause physical distress, such as headaches.
2. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep deprivation will ultimately wreak havoc on your mental health and lead to an onslaught of negative emotions and thoughts. Sleep experts recommend seven to eight hours of sleep per night for optimal health.
Practice good sleep hygiene. Implement a predictable and regular bedtime to ease yourself into a relaxing night’s rest. Electronic devices also impede sleep, so put away tablets, laptops, and smartphones at least two hours before bedtime. Keep your bedroom cool and dark, and wear comfortable pj’s.
3. Exercise Regularly
Exercise benefits us in so many ways. It reduces depression and tension and increases alertness and energy. Although it’s a challenge to fit it into a busy day, put exercise on your calendar as a regular appointment with yourself.
You can start small. A brisk 20-minute walk three times per week is a great start. Swimming is also a great way to stay in shape, and dancing is a fun form of exercise.
4. Make Time for Hobbies
Want to reinvigorate yourself and have some fun “me time”? Get reacquainted with yourself through gardening, doing puzzles, painting, writing, cooking – anything that brings you peace and happiness.
We Can Help Caregivers With Self-Care
In-home senior care can’t add any hours to your day, but we can help you put aside time for yourself. Epsilon Home Based Quality Care’s respite care services will give you the time you need to eat, rest, and recharge. Our professional, compassionate caregivers will take excellent care of your loved one, giving you the peace of mind you deserve as you take a well-earned break.