Staying Positive

Caring for someone with a health condition may have its unique challenges—but it also can have its positive, enriching moments. Love, trust, and a shared goal for better health can bring you closer to the family member or friend you are helping.

Staying positive is important—even when caregiving becomes stressful or overwhelming. A positive attitude can help you cope, reduce stress, and make it easier to get through those tough days. It can even lead you to a greater sense of well-being and improved health.

Always check with your health care professional before beginning any activity plan or increasing your activity. It's also important to ask him or her what your target heart rate is to help determine what exercise intensity is appropriate for you.

To help you keep a positive outlook, consider the following:

  • It is important to listen to your body. Find the time to eat right, get enough sleep, and exercise. Remember, as you care for a family member or friend, you need to look after your own health and strength.
  • Find time for your personal life. It is not easy, but it is important to make time for things like staying in touch with friends, keeping up with your own finances, and enjoying other personal interests.
  • Talking with other caregivers can help. They understand what you are going through and may offer comfort and advice. Joining a support group can be an excellent way to meet and connect with other caregivers.
  • It’s OK to ask for help with caregiving. Staying positive may be tough when you are overwhelmed or exhausted. Speak with family and friends—their assistance may help lighten your to-do list. For example, if you know a family member or friend enjoys cooking, consider asking him or her to help prepare meals.

Focus on the positive—realize the valuable help that you are providing, and the close connection that you are building with the person in your care. Choosing a positive approach can go a long way toward helping you be a happier, healthier, and more effective caregiver.

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