Image via Unsplash
Caring full-time for another person is challenging. Over 21% of Americans are providing unpaid care for family members, friends, or neighbors. These extra daily tasks come with more hurdles when you're a caregiver for someone with an illness or disability. To stay on top, you need to take care of yourself to stay healthy and keep stress at safe levels. If you need help getting started, The Livingston County Consortium on Aging presents some helpful tips below.
Stay Active Fitness is more than just burning calories. Exercise can boost your mood and ease anxiety and depression by releasing endorphins, and it can help you sleep better at night. If you can't get out of the house to work out, find ways to move around at home, such as housecleaning, washing the car, or doing other household chores. Alternatively, try a free exercise app or watch YouTube videos to find new fitness routines you enjoy.
Find Ways to Expand Your Skills Challenging yourself with learning new things is a great way to care for yourself. The internet is a great resource for learning and attending school online is one of the best ways to learn. You find a number of degrees available including graduate degrees such as an MBA.
Spend Time With Friends and Family Socializing with friends can help keep you connected to the world outside your home, reduce stress and depression, and encourage positive feelings. Being around friends can provide a temporary distraction from your role as a caregiver, which is especially important during difficult times.
Find a Hobby for You And Your Loved OneCaregiving is a lot of work, but you can also enjoy the time spent with your loved one. If you're both physically able, find activities you can do together. It's a great way to spend time with each other, improve your memory and cognition, and even reduce the risk of depression from being a caregiver.
Pamper Yourself It's easy to neglect personal care when you're a caregiver, but it's important to take time for yourself, even if that means doing something simple, such as taking a hot shower or enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning. Caregiver burnout is real, and the best defense against it is to take time for yourself. Pampering can also help lower stress by reminding you that you deserve some time alone to replenish and relax.
Stay Healthy Don't slack on your health care appointments. If you wait until you're sick before seeing a doctor, it may take longer to recover. Preventive care visits can catch problems when they're easier to treat.
Don't Skip Dental Care It's easy to forget about your teeth and gums when you're busy caring for someone else. Dentists recommend brushing and flossing twice a day and seeing your dentist every six months for professional cleanings. Also, to prevent further tooth decay, don't delay tooth filling repairs.
Hire a Lawn Service You're a caregiver, but you don't have to do everything yourself. Look for companies that can take some responsibilities off of your plate. Hiring a lawn service that can handle fertilization and other tasks to keep your home looking nice gives you a little extra time to yourself and takes one responsibility off your list.
Reduce Stress and Stay Healthy It's easy for caregivers to lose track of themselves while juggling their own lives, work, and caregiving responsibilities. Take time to care for yourself to prevent getting rundown.
This article is brought to you by The Livingston County Consortium on Aging, a 501(c)3 non-profit collaborative group representing public agencies, private businesses and individuals interested in addressing the needs of the county’s aging citizens. Membership is open to any interested parties, with a common goal of supporting our mission. Outreach efforts include sponsoring two annual events and the awarding of grants to area nonprofits addressing identified needs for area seniors. For more information, please visit our website or contact us today!