If you are a caregiver, you know all too well the emotional toll and physical stress caring for a loved one can bring. Prolonged stress and anxiety, the demands of caregiving along with your own medical or physical issues place you at a higher risk for emotional and physical health problems. Many caregivers find themselves taking care of their elderly parents as well as their children. All of this comes with a full-time job, and other everyday life challenges. With so many moving pieces, caregivers are the last people to practice preventative health measures or give themselves any self-care.
Physical and Emotional Challenges of Caregivers
- Sleep deprivation
- Failure to exercise or take part in any kind of physical activity
- Failure to stay in bed or rest when sick
- Failure to eat nutritionally and hydrate properly
- Failure to make medical appointments for themselves
- Failure to rest or relax
With lack of sleep, nutrition, hydration, and proper medical care, caregivers of family members are at risk of anxiety or depression and have a greater risk of self-medicating with alcohol or other drugs. While caring for a family member can bring a sense of love and dedication, these emotions are typically coupled with worry, continuous demands, exhaustion, and oftentimes inadequate resources.
Ways to Prioritize Self-Care for Caregivers
According to a Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA) report, over 34 million Americans in the U.S. are considered caregivers for an adult over the age of 50. Many of these caregivers feel guilty to take time for themselves for self-care and rest. Some of the best ways to ensure that you take care of yourself as a caregiver include:
- Eating a Healthy Diet. A healthy diet is important not only for your elderly loved one but for you as well. In fact, statistics have shown that your healthy diet can affect your energy as well as your emotional health. Balanced diets full of nutritious foods can help your current health as well as your chance of living a healthy long life.
- Getting Enough Sleep. One of the most things that people skip is a full night of sleep. Most people need seven-to-nine hours of sleep for optimal health. Sleep deprivation can cause both physical and emotional problems. Make sure to have a predictable bedtime routine and ensure that your body gets the rest it needs.
- Getting Enough Exercise. Exercise promotes not only a healthy lifestyle, but also reduces depression, anxiety, and stress. Exercise promotes physical energy as well as cognitive function. Starting small and building up over time is the best way to ensure that you will stick to an exercise regimen and continue to reap the emotional and physical benefits.
- Find Hobbies. From volunteer work to hobbies, finding activities that you enjoy will help rejuvenate you both emotionally and physically. Make sure to always accept help from family and friends, while you discover pastimes that bring you peace, comfort, joy, and happiness. Filling up your own cup will help you pour yourself back into others when they need you.
If you are interested in finding assistance for your elderly loved one, please contact us at Rocky Mountain Assisted Living. We are here to help you and your elderly loved one. Please call us at (303) 835-9265 or visit us online today.