Eight Ways Caregivers Can Practice Better Self-Care

A caregiver provides care for another person, usually for free. Caregivers are often family members or close friends. Taking care of a parent, grandparent, or other aging loved one can be time-consuming and stressful, and it’s easy to forget that if you don’t take care of yourself, you’re not going to be an effective caregiver for someone else. Here are eight simple ways to practice better self-care:

1.    Get enough sleep. You may think you don’t have time to sleep seven to eight hours per night, but you will be able to work more effectively if you’ve had enough rest.

2.    Exercise regularly. Exercise helps reduce stress and makes it easier to sleep.Also, it keeps you healthy so you can focus on caring for your loved one instead of dealing with an illness of your own.

3.    Participate in stress-reducing activities. Examples include yoga, meditation, and even coloring. Sometimes you can’t remove the stressful factors from your life, but you can choose how you deal with them.

4.    Eat healthily. Doing so will help prevent illness, give you more energy and allow you to feel more optimistic about life.

5.    Get the help you need. Trying to do everything yourself may seem like a good idea at first, but you may become burned out. Don’t wait until you’re completely overwhelmed to get the assistance you need.

6.    Take a break. Remember that you have a life, too, and you need to take a break and cultivate relationships, take care of work responsibilities, or may be just take a nap. Don’t feel guilty about giving yourself time off.

7.    Pick your battles carefully. Tackle the most important problems first, and don’t confuse what’s immediate with what’s important. You can’t do everything, and that is ok.

8.   Realize you can’t control everything. Making your loved one feel loved and cared for is what matters the most. You don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, so just do the best you can today.

Adapted from Pivot to Happy.

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