Being a full-time caregiver is one of the most stressful things you can experience in life. Not only is the health of another person solely placed upon your shoulders—or at least it can feel like this—but you may only get a break very rarely, if at all.
Because of this, many caregivers sacrifice their own health, both physically and mentally, when taking care of others. However, if you allow this to happen, you may not be able to give your loved one the care they need because you’re so run down yourself.
To ensure that this doesn’t happen to you and your loved one, here are three tips for maintaining your own health as a caregiver.
Find Ways To Manage Your Stress
Although stress is a natural thing that all caregivers feel at times, the way you handle this stress will be a huge indicator of how well you’re able to maintain your own health.
According to Family Caregiver Alliance, having too much stress that you’re not able to manage can result in feelings of irritability, problems sleeping, and forgetfulness—all things that can make you a less effective caregiver. So before you allow yourself to get completely overwhelmed with the stress of your situation, try to find ways that you can get a handle on your stress and unwind. This could include things like meditation, exercise, music, reading, talking to someone, and more.
Set Health Goals For Yourself
To ensure that you’re giving yourself and your body the attention necessary, the staff of the Mayo Clinic advises that you set some health goals for yourself.
For some, wise health goals might include getting enough sleep each night, finding time to exercise a few times per week, eating a health diet, drinking enough water, and more. So in addition to all the work you put into being a caregiver, make sure you still find time to achieve your own health goals, no matter how small they may be.
Ask For Help When You Need It
In order to do everything for yourself and those you’re caregiving for, there will be times when you need to ask for help. For many people, this can be more challenging than all the caregiving tasks they take on.
But according to Dr, James Beckerman, a contributor to WebMD.com, it’s important that you know what you can and cannot do and that you ask for help when you need it. While you could ask other family members or friends to lend a hand, you can also hire help if that makes more sense for you.
To help yourself maintain your own health as you serve as a caregiver, consider using the tips mentioned above to better manage this area of your life.