Caregiver Tips - Caregiver Tip No. 1: Take Care of Yourself
care of yourself is your most important step as a caregiver. Caregivers are
more likely than those who are not caregivers to be at risk for colds and the
flu and also chronic illness, such as
diabetes, and cancer.1
On the other hand, when caregivers take time to care for themselves, good
things usually happen:
They stay healthier.
better about themselves.
They have more energy and enthusiasm and
can keep giving care.
Here are some important things that you need to find time
to do-just for yourself:
Get some exercise. You may feel better and
sleep better if you exercise. One way is to be active in blocks of 10 minutes
or more throughout your day and week. Experts say to aim for at least 2� hours
moderate activity a week.2
Eat healthy meals and snacks. When you are busy
giving care, it may seem easier to eat fast food than to prepare healthy meals.
But healthy meals are easy to prepare, and
healthy eating will give you more energy to carry you
through each day.
Get enough sleep. If you are not getting enough
sleep at night, take a nap during the day. Plan to get at least one full
night's rest each week.
Make time for an activity you
enjoy-reading, listening to music, painting or doing crafts, playing an
instrument-even if you can only do it for a few minutes a day. If you like to
go to church activities or take classes, ask a friend or family member to stay
with your loved one for an hour or two one or two times a week so you can do
Get regular medical checkups. This includes dental
checkups. Even if you have always been healthy, you need to stay healthy. Know
about the signs of
depression, and watch for them not only in the person
you are caring for but also in yourself. If you have feelings of lingering
sadness or hopelessness, talk with your doctor. For more information, see the