Caregiving is a tough job and it can be difficult to find the time and energy to care for yourself. Plus, caregivers are often faced with the dilemma of trying to balance the needs of the person they are caring for and their own needs. But in order for you to be an effective caregiver, it is important for you to take time for yourself as well.
Some simple self-care tips
Sometimes, as a busy caregiver, you may think you’re already moving enough, but that’s not the same as scheduling a time for a proper exercise routine. Whether it’s stretching out on a yoga mat, a walk or jogging around the block or in a nearby park, or getting a full-body workout at the gym, it should be as regular as you can make it.
Snack healthier. Instead of reaching for a bag of chips or a candy bar to boost your energy, stock up on healthier snacks. When you’re feeling that mid-afternoon slump, grab an apple or a handful of nuts. Avoid sugar-filled sodas and substitute them with water. Water helps you lose weight, aids digestion, increases cognitive function, and helps fight off illness. Adults need to drink a minimum of 2 liters of water every day. While milk, diet sodas, tea, coffee, and juices are fine in moderation, you should try to drink more tap, mineral, sparkling, or non-sparkling water throughout the day.
Caregivers often push their bodies to their limits, and the result can be stiffness and pain. Pain relievers and anti-inflammatories are only short-term solutions and can lead to even more problems or even make things worse. Physical therapy is one of the least invasive forms of treatment for pain and joint/muscle dysfunction. It has a proven track record of providing results where other treatment options have failed. As Peterson Physical Therapy states, the purpose of physical therapy is to ultimately optimize your function by relieving pain in joints/muscles and improving the strength, flexibility, and mobility of tissue.
Ask for help
If you don’t live near family or friends nearby who can give you a break, you can find a qualified child or adult care provider through online services like Care.com or by asking for references from neighbors, ask for references on your social media site, or even from a clergy member at a nearby house of worship.
Get help with housework. When you’re already giving so much of yourself in care to another person, your house can be left to a professional cleaning service. You have options as to how much you want them to do and how often you need their services.
Even if you’re able to stay on top of the normal day-to-day housekeeping, you should still get help from professionals with really big jobs like window cleaning. These professionals have the right equipment to safely clean your windows. Window cleaning services average $260 depending on the number and type of windows, how easy they are to access, and how dirty they are. You can find a window cleaner near you by searching online and getting references.
Find something you enjoy
Whether you want something to engage you, distract you, or help you relax, pursuing a new or old hobby can help you feel like yourself again.
Gardening and baking are hobbies you can do right in your home and the results are something you can share with your family as well.
Taking an art or music class gets you out of the house and gets your mind totally off your other responsibilities. Art and wine classes are popular and you can find one in almost any town. Your local music shop will have lists of instructors in any instrument you’ve been interested in trying. They can even let you test drive different ones until you find the one that you’re happiest with.
You really do have to take care of you
Whether it’s eating better or exercising more. Getting household help like window cleaning or finding fun and interesting ways to enjoy yourself; your own self-care should be a top priority. Remember, you can’t care for anyone else if you’re not taking care of yourself.