Authored by Jennifer McGregor Image via Pexels
As the adult caregiver of an aging parent or other elderly family member, you likely tell them to eat well, get enough sleep, and care for themselves. It’s time that you listen to your own advice. Self-care is what will give you the energy and motivation to move forward when things get tough. Today, The Arizona In-Home Care Association offers a few tips on how to be kind to yourself.
Self-care should always include physical activity of some sort. If you don’t have the time to devote to going to the gym, you can still sneak in a few steps each day by skipping the elevator and taking the stairs when you go to work or out shopping. You might also park further away when you arrive at your destination or plan to walk if you live close enough to the grocery store and only need a few things.
Pack Your Lunch
Even if you live with the person you care for, you may feel overwhelmed trying to make lunches that you both love. Skip this stress and anxiety and pack your lunch the day before. A healthy salad, which the Eating Bird Food blog suggests should start with leafy greens and include at least two vegetables, will give you the nutrients you need to finish out the day without weighing you down.
Quiet meditation is one simple, accessible, and free way to treat yourself well, no matter where you are. Meditation improves mental health, reduces anxiety, and can even help with memory loss, making it a great activity to share.
Call a Friend
We all need a support system, but we can’t always break away for lunch out with friends. Instead, pick up the phone. Sometimes, a simple phone call is all it takes to get the encouragement you need and to remind yourself that you are not alone in this journey.
Go for a Walk
While walking is also a great way to exercise, there are many other health benefits associated with a stroll in the sunshine and fresh air. A walk around the block will help you clear your brain, boost your creativity, and, if you don’t moving at a brisk pace, your body will release endorphins that can make you feel happier from the inside out.
Do Something Together
No time to devote to a hobby? Bring the hobby to yourself and your loved ones. You can draw, paint, watch movies, or play board games together. All of these can help ease tension and give you a mental escape from the worries that weigh you down.
Go Back to School
Another powerful form of self-care involves giving yourself permission to follow your dreams and ambitions. For example, have you always wanted to start a business? If so, a great way to give yourself an edge over the competition is by going back to school. And these days, it’s easier than ever to complete a bachelor of business degree, thanks to the flexibility of online learning programs. That way, you can keep working as you study, allowing you to progress at your own pace with far less stress.
Learn to Say No
This is a tough one, but learning to say no to people that ask too much from you is one of the most important things you can do to bolster your self-care efforts. Let go of the fears that go with speaking up for yourself, and don’t feel guilty if you need to reclaim some of your time for you. You can explain that you’re already obligated to something else or simply say that you don’t have time to add the request to your schedule.
Life as a caregiver is often lonely, busy, and stressful. However, it does not have to be that way, and caring for yourself – whether that means following your dreams or saying no to extra demands – will give you the time, mental energy, and clarity to better take care of yourself and your loved one.
The Arizona In-Home Care Association works to establish and enhance the credibility of non-medical home care provider businesses for consumers by requiring Members of the Association to adhere to the Association’s strict standards and code of business ethics. Call 602-283-3503.
Jennifer McGregor, a pre-med student, co-created Public Health Library to make it easier for people to find high quality health info. Through this site she aims to push reputable information on health topics to the forefront, making them easier and quicker to find.