As a caregiver, you are more at risk of poor physical health. If you're so focused on caring for your loved one that you begin to neglect your own health, it's time to make some changes. Taking care of yourself can help you feel great, boost your energy, elevate your mood, help you sleep better, and keep you healthy.
Small steps can make a big impact on your diet and nutrition. Here are some simple ways you can eat healthy:
As a caregiver, you may not have extra time for a workout, but incorporating exercise into your daily routine may be easier than you think.
Discover more advice on how to keep yourself and your loved one healthy in our Caregiver's Toolkit. The toolkit also includes advice on managing the day-to-day caregiving routine, and resources such as worksheets and calendars to help you stay organized. Download a free copy - Caregiver's Toolkit - English (2.68 Mb).
Caregiving and stress seem to go hand-in-hand. As a caregiver, you might be pushed to the limits of what you can handle both physically and emotionally. Dealing with that pressure can take a toll. It's natural for caregivers to experience a mixture of emotions including feeling overwhelmed, guilty, sad, lonely, and even angry.
Some level of stress is normal, but chronic stress can cause burnout, which may contribute to feelings of resentment toward the person you're caring for. It can also lead to a more serious mental disorder called depression.
When the stress is getting to you, be sure to remind yourself that you're doing the best you can. Give yourself credit for all the support you've been giving to your loved one in need, and realize that you may need some support too, in order to balance your overall health with the demands of being a caregiver. Having emotional support can help you manage the challenges of caregiving, including maintaining your own well-being.
Let friends, family, your doctor, or clergy know if you are feeling stressed and need someone to talk to about it. Sometimes, just venting your frustrations out loud can bring some relief.
Connecting with other caregivers is another great way to help lower stress and meet your emotional needs. After all, who knows better how to tackle caregiving challenges than those who have been through the same things? Doctors, hospitals, newspaper community calendars, or agencies on aging may be great sources to help you locate a local support group. There are also many ways to connect with other caregivers online via social networks.
One of the most valuable things you can do as a caregiver is to take care of yourself so you’ll be at your best when caring for your loved one. Be sure to get the mental and emotional support you need to help avoid caregiver burnout and help you feel ready to face the challenges ahead.
With the demands of caregiving, finding time for yourself can be a challenge. It's okay to admit that you can't do it at all!
Ask trusted family and friends to pitch in. They might be able to help you with everyday tasks such as:
There may be additional support services in your local community as well. Check into outside services for meal delivery, transportation, adult day care and respite care, home health aides, and skilled nursing. Governmental agencies, local hospitals, churches, and local chapters of disease groups (like the American Cancer Society) may be able to help you find the resources you need.
Make sure you’re getting the recommended health screenings for women your age.Find out more about health screenings for women (link opens in new window)
If you are a RightSource user, you can refill prescriptions and make payments online - even from your smartphone with the RightSource mobile app!Learn more
Eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables gives you important nutrients like vitamins A and C, folate, and potassium.Healthy Living