Being responsible as the caregiver for an elder or individual with special needs can take its toll. Many individuals underestimate the emotional and physical difficulties that come with the responsibilities of being a caregiver. This is understandable as caregivers will oftentimes focus their full energy and enthusiasm into providing care for their loved one. However, if you are a caregiver, it is equally important to take care of yourself.
Being a Caregiver is Tough!
As the lynch pin, if a caregiver crashes, nobody wins. Adult caregivers are significantly affected by lifestyle choices. Certain lifestyle changes can affect an adult caregiver’s level of energy, stamina and overall health. This article will discuss some steps caregivers can take to ensure that they are effectively maintaining their health.
Adjust Your Diet
Although we have heard it time and time again, your diet does affect your short term and long term health. A poor diet laden with sugars, processed foods and hydrogenated oils can negatively affect a person’s immune system and stamina. These are important aspects of your health to maintain if you are a caregiver because caregiving requires an immense amount of energy. Unfortunately, it can be tough to take a sick day as a primary caregiver so preventing illness by bolstering your immune system is a sure fire way to keep yourself healthy and alert.
Implementing a HIIT Routine
As previously discussed, it takes a tremendous amount of energy to be a caregiver to an elderly parent or loved one. And whether we like to admit it or not, we all have our breaking point. Exercise is great way to keep yourself feeling your best but, sometimes schedules don’t allow for a long trip to the gym. Caregivers who are interested in reaping the rewards of regular exercise should consider implementing a High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) routine. Don’t be intimidated by the name. Although HIIT exercise is more intense than a stroll around the block, it has been shown to boost strength, burn fat, regulate blood sugar and greatly increase an individual’s level of energy. HIIT is a great way to keep yourself feeling your best, even if your time is spread very thin. HIIT relies on individuals exercising for as little as 20-25 minutes a day which is a time-saving benefit many other exercise routines won’t offer.
Include Daily Supplements
On top of a diet that avoids unhealthy foods, adding some daily supplements to your nutritional intake can help you function at 110%. Simple, non-extravagant supplements that include basic vitamins, minerals, probiotics and enzymes have countless positive impacts for your health. Nutritional supplements can help the body to combat any toxins that are present as a result to poor dietary choices and stress. However, research has shown time and time again that including a nutritional supplement can provide the body with everything it needs to keep going.
You might not know it but chances are, you are actually lacking many of the daily vitamins you need. A common example of this is the emerging health trend of individuals who are vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D, which can be absorbed through sunlight helps the body to regulate hormones, strengthen bonds, enhance cell growth, and even has anti-inflammatory benefits. Although a daily nutritional supplement does not mean you can eat fast food everyday, it can serve as an effective weapon in your health arsenal.
Controlling and Mitigating Stress
In U.S. culture, stress has become a part of daily life. Although stress cannot be avoided, chronic stress can be extremely damaging to an individual’s physical and mental health. Caregiving is stressful due to the high levels of physical effort and emotional investment that is required. Chronic stress IS a health hazard that every caregiver needs to be aware of. Finding a way to effectively manage our perception of stress can allow us to better control our reaction to stress. Research has shown that prolonged or chronic stress can cause disease and deterioration in our health. Implementing mindful and meditative activities when we are stressed can disrupt the cycle of stress. For example, when met with an extreme stressor, caregiver may decide to cause a break in the tension by taking a walk to change the scenery or reciting a supportive mantra while performing some meditative breathing exercises.
Always Get Some Shuteye
The importance of sleep cannot be stressed enough. Sleep is the body’s most central regulating function. Besides the obvious need to recharge sleep has essential functions in rebuilding the body’s health internally. When we are asleep, the body can focus its attention more fully on repairing itself. A lack of sleep can be detrimental to caregivers and can manifest itself through apathy, irritation and even depression.
Sometimes getting sleep can be difficult, especially if the stress of being a caregiver has become overwhelming. Luckily, all of the previous suggestions of this article will help you get a full night’s rest. If there is one suggestion not to overlook, it is this one. Without healthy sleep, it is extremely difficult to stay healthy.
Enlist Professional Home Care Assistance!
Caring Hands Matter provides trustworthy fairfax home care services, in addition to serving the wider D.C./Metro area. Our licensed, professional caregivers can provide families with the support they need to make life more manageable. If you are considering home health care services for an elderly or disabled loved one, call our office directly or contact us online. We can discuss your needs and help you to better understand your options.