When caregivers are on call 24/7, they are often so selfless in their care of a loved one that they neglect to take care of themselves.
Did you know caregivers have a higher than normal incidence of getting sick? They often become so depleted they cannot maintain the stamina to continue caring for another person. Don't let this happen to you.
Ten Tips to Nurture YOU
Follow these 10 tips to nurture yourself physically, mentally and spiritually every day, even when you are at the bedside of another:
- Eat well-balanced meals on a regular schedule. Take a daily multivitamin. Drink 6-8 glasses of water a day.
- Exercise every day, even if it is simply 15 minutes of stretching, yoga, calisthenics, or a short walk. Use the stairs to keep your circulation going.
- Get outdoors, even briefly. Fresh air renews the body and spirit. When possible, open a window.
- Strive for a minimum of seven to eight hours of consecutive sleep in a 24 hour period. Nap when your loved one naps.
- Get treatments for your own aches and pains before they turn into something more serious.
- Pay attention to your own feelings and emotions and seek counseling if needed. Vent feelings to trusted family members or friends.
- Take time for yourself. Use relaxation or stress management methods such as meditation, visualization, and yoga. Books and videos are available to guide you in these techniques.
- Read, pray, or meditate for at least 15 minutes per day. Read daily prayer books and helpful magazines like Today’s Caregiver, Caring Today, or books such as Chicken Soup for the Caregiver’s Soul to uplift your spirits. If religious, seek the counsel of a religious leader you trust and respect.
- Laugh, reminisce, and share stories of happy times.
- Ask for help. Friends, family, and religious groups are often eager to assist and are only waiting to be asked and directed. Doing everything yourself deprives another of the opportunity to serve.
Following these tips will help you find the health and happiness you deserve. And when you care for yourself, you can care for your loved one even better.