When you’re the caregiver of a loved one, it’s easy to lose a part of yourself. If you don’t take care of your own physical and mental needs, it’s almost impossible to provide good care to someone else. To help you out, we’ll go over twelve ways to help you maintain the health of your loved one as well as yourself.
Think of this as your go-to self-care guide. From working out to taking on a hobby, here’s everything you need to know about caring for yourself when you’re caring for someone else.
1. Keep up With Your Healthy Supplements
Caring for someone else doesn’t mean you can stop caring for yourself. Make sure you’re getting your daily dose of vitamins. Soft and delicious hair gummies, for example, will help you feel and look your best.
Focus on your health so that you’re better equipped to take care of someone else. Nutrition from food isn’t always enough. This is where supplements come into play.
2. Stick to Daily Routines
When you’re caring for someone else, it’s easy to forget about the things you need to do each day. If you feel best when you get a workout in and shower before bed, make time for those daily rituals and routines.
Your daily routine is as important as the person’s you’re caring for. A schedule will help you both understand what is coming next. Set reminders for yourself, use a whiteboard, or any method that works for you.
Sticking to daily routines will set the precedent of what both of you need to do each day. While some of this is dictated by medical needs, the rest should include daily routines for both of you.
3. Practice Self-Care and Health Maintenance
When you’re caring for someone else, it’s important to take care of yourself. Self-care is even more critical. You need to take time alone to decompress and re-center yourself.
Self-care doesn’t need to be an expensive trip to the spa. It can be an extra ten minutes in the shower with a candle or staying in your robe for coffee early in the morning. Whatever you need to de-stress, make time for it.
The more centered and at peace you feel, the better your mood will be. This will help you handle the stress of caring for others easier. Little things won’t rattle you and your mood will be more even.
4. Get a Workout In
Taking care of someone else will take a toll on your physical health. It’s important to stay on top of your workouts. Getting in a workout, will help you feel better and keep you in shape.
Taking care of someone else is often demanding physically. You may be lifting and carrying someone who has physical limitations. Exercise will help to keep your strength up.
The routine of exercise will make you feel great. A little time to yourself is a nice way to break up or start the day. Exercise also gives off endorphins that keep your energy up and boost your mood.
Your workout doesn’t have to be hours long if time is limited. You’ll be surprised at how much you can do in a short amount of time. Even ten minutes a day of running, jogging, walking, or stretching will feel amazing.
There are tons of free videos and workouts online and on streaming networks that you can do at home as well. If you have a break at lunch or while the person, you’re caring for is resting, you can pop on a quick workout to do right in the living room.
5. Take Time Outdoors
Spending time outdoors is good for both you and your loved one if they are physically able to go out. If you’re able to, take them for walks. Get out for some fresh air and walk the dog or go around the block.
Sitting outside on a patio or in the yard is also a nice change of pace. Enjoy a meal or cup of coffee outside for a dose of fresh air. A little time in the sunshine gives your mood a boost as well.
Spending time outdoors reduces anxiety, stress, and fatigue. Include some outdoor activities, whenever you can into your day. You’ll both feel better after.
6. Make Time for Mental Health Breaks
When you’re taking care of someone else, it’s hard to take a break. It’s easy to get consumed by the other person’s needs and wants. This is where your mental health could suffer.
Make some time for a mental health break. Give yourself a few minutes a day where you reset, unwind, and get peace and quiet. You can read a book, do a puzzle, meditate, or call a friend.
Whatever it is that takes your mind off things, make time for it. You’ll feel recharged and ready to take on the rest of the day afterward.
7. Get More Sleep
When you’re overtired, overworked, and on-demand, all day, it’s easy to get exhausted. You need to rest mentally and physically. Caring for someone else will completely wipe you out if you let it.
It’s important to make sleep a priority. Getting more sleep will help keep you healthy, strong, and mentally sharp. A lack of sleep is linked to poor nutrition, anxiety, stress, and low energy levels.
If you aren’t sleeping, you’re more likely to feel out of sorts, groggy, and less focused. It’s harder to be productive and stay on task if you’re overtired. In some situations, caring for someone else is dangerous without sleep.
8. Find Fun Activities You Can Do Together
Caring for someone else doesn’t have to be all business. There are a lot of activities you can do together. Depending on your loved one’s abilities, you can play games, cook, read, or exercise together.
Playing a game of cards or reading a book together is something fun you’ll both look forward to. Cooking together is another interactive way to spend time together.
9. Find an Outlet
Caring for someone else shouldn’t be all that defines you. You need to find an outlet that lets you destress and unwind. This outlet could be creative, physical, or educational, for example.
You can take a course online, start a new book series, or start a hobby. Knitting, sewing, or even learning a foreign language are all things you can do at home, on your own time.
Just a few minutes a day, painting, running, baking, or listening to podcasts will give you a nice change of pace. You’ll feel more fulfilled and excited about the next time you get to do it.
10. Make Sure You Have Someone Else To Talk To
It’s easy to be all-consumed by the job of caregiving. If you’re in a household with only yourself and the person you’re caring for, make sure you have someone else to talk to.
If you work outside the home, this may not be an issue, but for some, caregiving is isolating. Make time to speak with or visit other people. Friends or family that live far away are always accessible on the phone or through video chat.
Make time each day or week to reach out to someone. It’s nice to have someone else to talk to and converse with. You can vent, laugh, and catch up with people you care about to take your mind off things.
11. Eat Well
Caring for someone else is a demanding job. You need to make sure you’re fueling your body. Eating well will give you the energy you need to take on the day.
Start by eating, whole, fresh, unprocessed food, whenever possible. Processed food is packed with sugars and sodium. This food might seem like it gives you energy but it doesn’t fuel you for the long haul.
Fresh fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens will give you a steady stream of energy throughout the day. You’ll feel better, lighter, and have more focus all-day long.
Cooking at home is a great way to ensure you know what’s going into your food. The person you’re caring for will also enjoy a healthy, home-cooked meal at home. This is something you can do together.
Eating processed meat, sweets, and sugar-filled drinks leads to heart problems, inflammation, and diabetes. Give your body the nutrition it needs to take care of yourself as well as your loved one.
12. Make Time for Your Other Family and Work
If you have a career as well as other family members in your household, you have a lot demanding your attention. Make time for work and your career. Work is another outlet that’s something just for you.
Your career is a way for you to do what you love and provide for your family. Don’t feel guilty about having something for yourself outside the home. You need to make a living as well.
If you have children or a spouse that also lives with you, they also want to spend time with you. When you’re caring for someone, it’s easy to give them all your attention and focus.
Make time for everyone else in your house. It might seem like this will burn you out, but it will actually be a nice break. Let someone else take on other duties for a bit so that you can enjoy one on one time with a spouse or child. You’ll both enjoy the time together and the break it provides.
Maintain the Health of Your Loved One as Well as Yourself
Taking care of someone else means taking care of yourself. If you’re overtired and burned out, you won’t be able to maintain the health of your loved one.
Make sure you take some time for yourself and do the things you love. Get sleep, eat well, and make time for hobbies and activities. For more health and wellness tips, visit the blog section for more great resources.