Caregivers are often overwhelmed with taking care of their aging parents and neglect their own health. This puts them at risk for depression, drug and alcohol abuse, weight fluctuations, and developing a chronic disease.
In addition to the harmful effects on a caregiver’s overall well-being, failing to take care of themselves can prevent them from being able to care for their loved ones properly. Here are a few resolutions caregivers can make to improve their health.
4 Healthy Caregiver Resolutions for 2019
- Eat nutritious foods.
It’s common for family caregivers to have poor eating habits. Their busy schedules often cause them to consume foods that are easy to eat on the go. Unfortunately, quick and easy is rarely good for you.
An unstable mood, decreased energy, and a weakened immune system are a few adverse effects associated with a poor diet. Each of them can make caregivers irritable, sick, and less able to care for their loved ones.
A healthy diet is one thing caregivers can do for their health. Here are a few ways busy caregivers can incorporate more nutritious foods into their diet:
- Plan healthy meals for the week.
- Prepare meals in advance.
- Include vegetables with all meals.
- Get enough sleep.
Many caregivers feel like they don’t have enough hours in the day to tend to their regular responsibilities and care for their loved ones. As a result, many of them are sleep-deprived.
Sleep is crucial to our health and overall well-being. Caregivers should aim to get 7-8 hours a night.
Here are a few tips to improve the quality and duration of your sleep:
- Set a sleep schedule and stick to it. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day can improve the quality of your sleep.
- Have a bedtime routine. Start your bedtime routine an hour before your set bedtime. This will help you wind down and fall asleep faster.
- Only use your bed for sleep. Avoid watching television or working in your bed to reinforce the association between your bed and sleep.
- Avoid looking at lights before bed. Blue light can prevent your brain from releasing melatonin, the hormone that triggers sleep. Turn off the television and put down your phone at least an hour before bed.
- Exercise regularly.
Many family caregivers feel like exercising would drain what little energy they have left, but it has the opposite effect.
Here are a few additional benefits of regular exercise:
- Reduces stress.
- Improves sleep.
- Reduces tension and depression.
- Increases energy.
Exercise can improve the way you feel and care for your loved one by making you more resilient to caregiver role strain.
Here are a few ways caregivers can fit exercise into their schedule:
- Go for a 10-minute walk after every meal.
- Take a Zumba class at the local gym.
- Take yoga at a nearby studio.
Regardless of what you choose, the activity should be enjoyable to increase the likelihood you will stick to it.
Caregiver stress is a common problem for caregivers. Not finding healthy ways to manage stress can result in serious consequences like caregiver burnout.
Here are a few healthy ways caregivers can cope with stress:
- Go for a walk.
- Go to the movies with friends.
- Join a caregiver support group.
It doesn’t matter how you choose to de-stress. What’s important is that you take time away from your caregiving role and do something for yourself.
When You Can’t Take Care of Yourself
If taking care of yourself seems like an impossible resolution to make this year, it may indicate that you have too much on your plate. If that’s the case, it may be time to consider assisted living.
Assisted living can offer help for caregivers who are struggling to find time to take breaks from their caregiving responsibilities. At SeniorHousingNet, we help family caregivers find the best assisted living options for their senior loved ones. Call us at (888) 514-6461 to speak with one of our senior care advisors for free!