Health Tips: Staying Fit and Healthy
You do your best to make things easier for the person in your care—whether it's helping with household chores, cooking nutritious meals, or gently reminding him or her to take medicine as prescribed. As a caregiver, you may find it hard to take care of yourself sometimes. Creating a healthy balance between your needs and those of the person you are caring for is important. Here are 10 tips to help you get started.
1. Finding time for you
Everybody needs to unwind sometimes. Whether it's reading a good book or catching up with an old friend, it's important to set aside some time each day just for you.
2. Choosing healthy food
Whether you're at home or on the run, consider healthy foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, high-fiber foods, lean meats, and poultry. These foods can help give you more energy and help prevent health problems. Check out more healthy eating tips.
3. Exercising regularly
Regular exercise has many health benefits. It can be a good energizer and a great stress reliever. It also can help control blood pressure and cholesterol. Getting active does not have to mean long workouts at the gym. Aim for 30 minutes of activity a day. Walking is a great way to get startedwhether you're at the mall or in your own neighborhood. Talk to your health care professional before starting any new exercise regimen.
4. Rechargingboth mentally and physically
Getting out of the house and doing something you enjoy at least once a week is a great pick-me-up. Consider taking a walk in the park, taking a class, or visiting a friend. If the person you care for needs round-the-clock attention, ask a friend or family member to help out so you can take a break.
5. Keeping a sense of humor
Looking for a fun, easy, and inexpensive way to relax? Try laughing. It helps you relax, quickens your heart rate, and gets your blood and muscles moving. Find something that you and the person you care for can laugh about, such as a comedy on TV or a funny story.
6. Taking care of your own needs
Caregivers often put off the things they need to do for themselves. If this sounds familiar, know that it's OK to take care of personal taskswhether it's balancing your checkbook, running errands, or simply spending time with friends and family. Your needs matter.
7. Keeping your personal health appointments
Taking an active role in your own health is always a good idea. Having regular medical and dental checkups, as well as other routine appointments and exams as recommended by your health care professional, can help you stay healthy and strong.
8. Staying connected with the outside world
Keeping in touch with friends and family is important to your own health and well-beingif not in person, then by phone or online. Keep the conversation upbeat and talk about things that you enjoy. You'll feel better that you did.
9. Thinking positively
A little positive thinking can go a long way. Take time to recognize and accept your emotionsno matter what they are. Realize that it’s perfectly natural to feel guilty or overwhelmed at times. But be sure to give yourself credit for all the good things you have done.
10. Recognizing the warning signs of stress and depression
Stress and depression can be serious health concerns for many caregivers. If you're having a hard time dealing with stress or are feeling depressed, be sure to talk to your health care professional as soon as possible.
It may take some patience and practice, but balancing your own needs with those of the person in your care can help you stay on a healthy path.