Nutrition & Self Care for Caregivers
Let’s be honest, it’s hard to take care of others if you aren’t taking care of yourself. Easier said than done. Often times the first thing to go when you are caregiving is sleep and exercise followed by healthy eating and failure to make or follow up on your own healthcare appointments. At times it can feel like a downward spiral. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. So here are a few quick tips on how you can make sure you are meeting your own needs as well as your loved ones while you provide care and support to friends and family.
Don’t underestimate the importance of a good night of sleep.
Sleep helps our bodies repair, cleanse and function at a higher level and we want to aim for at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. Without sufficient sleep we are often sluggish, fuzzy and unable to perform at our highest level. Try to ensure that you allot enough time for some shut eye each night, set up a good bed time routine, remove electronics from your room and other distractions. And aim to log off about an hour before you intend to get into bed to help your body wind down.
Remember to nourish yourself.
Nutrition is self care and that includes a wide variety of healthy foods at a regular intervals. It can be tough as you are trying to help others but it can make a huge difference to your energy levels and ability to fight off any illness that comes your way. Aim for 3 meals and snacks as needed or if you won’t be able to eat always have some nourishing items in your bag for emergencies like nuts, dried fruit, energy bars, fruit and keep water handy too.
Make time for a exercise.
Whether it’s walking a bit further or longer, squeezing in some yoga on your living floor, taking a bike ride or making a quick gym class before you day gets hectic. Exercise can help with stress management and help release all those feel good hormones that can improve your sense of wellbeing. It doesn’t have to be time consuming or complicated, even 20 minutes can help clear the mind.
Make sure to address your own health concerns.
Taking time out if you aren’t feeling well and follow up with your own doctors is important. Often time, caregivers end up putting their medical needs on the back burner but its important to remember that you can’t perform at the top of your game if you aren’t feeling well.