When you become a caregiver, it can be challenging – especially if you’re showing a little gray yourself. You may be at the top of your game professionally, but suddenly, family becomes priority. If you’re a senior caregiver or about to become one, you’re going to have to take care of yourself as well as your loved one. Below are some helpful tips so you can stay at your best.
How to Take Care of Yourself?
Get Regular Exercise
Exercise is vital to staying healthy, especially as we get older. Physical activity helps the body maintain strength and flexibility as well as improve mental function. Even light exercise can help boost your immune system, raise your energy levels, increase your metabolism, and improve your overall mood. Exercise is also a great way to relieve stress and anxiety.
Get the Right Amount of Sleep
Sleep can help you feel better physically and mentally. The less sleep you get, the harder it is to function well. Sleep deprivation can lead to depression, anxiety, and headaches. You can avoid all these by making sure you're getting enough sleep each night.
Eating nutritious foods can help boost your immunity to illness and serve as a buffer against stress. Some healthy foods include:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Low-fat dairy products
- Lean meats and fish
- Beans and legumes
- Low-fat dairy products such as yogurt and milk
Yoga and Meditation
Yoga and meditation are powerful tools for self-care. They can help reverse the damaging effects of chronic stress and increase your quality of life. The benefits of yoga and meditation are many and far-reaching. They can improve your physical health, mental health, social interactions, happiness, and productivity and relieve depression and anxiety.
Try a New Hobby Together
Find a new hobby you and your elderly loved one can enjoy together. It doesn’t matter what kind of activity you choose as long as you both enjoy it.
Some activities you can try might include:
- Play Nintendo Wii. This video game lets you play sports like tennis, golf, bowling, and boxing. The hand controller senses your movements and simulates them on your TV.
- Make a family cookbook. You can combine all your favorite family recipes into a scrapbook.
- Take a road trip. Maybe there's somewhere your loved one always wanted to go or someone they'd like to revisit. New York is a big state with plenty of interesting places to see within convenient driving distance.
- Do some crafting. Being creative is a great way to unwind from the demands of caregiving, and you and your loved one can make fun things for your home while also making memories. From upcycling found junk into robots to designing your own wallpaper, the possibilities are almost endless.
- Make a photo album. Take pictures of all your good times together and collect them in an album. You can even have fun exploring different styles, from traditional to something more unconventional!
Go Back to School
Lifelong learning brings many benefits. It’s not only an opportunity to expand knowledge and skills, but also increases opportunities for socializing, is empowering, and studies cited by Science Direct note that it can be a boon to mental and physical health. So why not use your free time to go back to school? If you’ve always wanted to start your own business, it’s a chance to engage in a program that will allow you to do so. You don’t even need to sit in a classroom with people generations younger than you, thanks to online learning programs. Best of all, the flexibility of online learning means you can keep up your caregiving responsibilities while you attend classes at your own pace.
Hire a Home Service
Home services can help you free up your time to focus on your priorities. Depending on your goals, you can hire lawn fertilization, landscaping, or cleaning services. Many of these services are inexpensive and don’t require long-term commitments, which means you can test them out before committing to a long-term plan. If you’re worried about the financial costs of hiring these services, you can also look into companies that offer discounts and deals. For example, before hiring a lawn fertilization company, do a search and check online reviews to find a good company.
Improve Your Well-Being
Caring for others can be physically and emotionally demanding. Therefore, you must take care of yourself by finding help or engaging in activities that improve your well-being. Consider hobbies that enhance your wellbeing as well as your lifestyle, take a class or two, and ensure you cover basics like proper sleep and nutrition. With the right plan in place, you’ll feel better, and you’ll be a better caregiver, too.