Elder Care: If you’re caring for senior loved ones you are probably used to running on empty physically and emotionally.
Caring for senior loved ones is a marathon, not a sprint, and it requires a lot of physical and mental commitment. While it’s wonderful to have time to spend with your senior parents it can also wear you down if you’re not taking good care of yourself. You should first consider getting an elder care provider to help you care for your senior loved one. An elder care provider can take a lot of the daily care tasks off your plate.
Caregivers can burn out when they aren’t taking steps to protect their health. There are some things that caregivers should be doing every day to make sure that they are healthy and strong. Just like athletes, caregivers should be training themselves by:
Getting Enough Sleep
Sleep is critically important for both mental and physical health. Studies indicate that getting less than seven hours of sleep at night can cause significant health problems and can even impact your brain health. Caregivers need to sleep, preferably for at least eight hours every single night. Some caregivers will laugh at this and think that’s not possible for them. It may be a challenge but you should do what you can to try and get more sleep and better quality sleep. It’s the best thing you can do for your own well-being.
Eating Healthy Meals
When you’re stressed out and pressed for time grabbing a cheeseburger or eating pizza might seem a lot more appealing than eating a healthy meal. However, you need to be eating healthy meals to help you physically meet the demands of caregiving. If you are always in a hurry you can start keeping healthy snacks and foods in your car or in your bag so that you have healthy foods available at all times. Protein drinks and bars, dried fruit, granola bars, and water will be a lot better for your health than drive-through foods, sodas, or coffee.
Everyone needs exercise to be healthy, but some people don’t realize that exercise can give you a mental boost as well as a physical one. Exercise helps lower stress levels and can help fight off the symptoms of depression. Even if you just go for a walk around the block or do twenty minutes of yoga stretches in your bedroom in the morning do try to make time for at least a little bit of exercise each day. If you make exercise part of your daily routine you will quickly notice that you’re feeling stronger mentally and physically.
Giving Yourself Down Time
Giving yourself time to do nothing is also crucial to good mental and physical health. Everyone needs some time each day to decompress. Try to fit in 15 or 30 minutes each day where you can journal, draw, take a bath, or just sit in your favorite chair with a cup of tea and let yourself process everything that happened during the day. Unscheduled time to feel your emotions, read a book, or do something else that is just for you is an important part of staying healthy.