Those who take care of others, like family caregivers of seniors, often neglect themselves. But if you are a caregiver, you are important, too. In addition, there are some concrete advantages to exercising self-care: caregivers who exercise self-care will have more patience, more energy and do a better job looking after whoever you are caring for.
Here are some self-care tips for caregivers.
Time for yourself
Allow yourself some special “you” time every day. Allow yourself time to recharge and relax whether it’s watching a movie or going for a walk or just having a hot bath. Schedule time for yourself so you don’t forget about it.
It’s not uncommon for caregivers to prepare great meals for those they are caring for, yet eat poorly themselves. Eat a balanced diet with lots of plant-based foods, and don’t forget to drink water. Make sure you are getting enough vitamins like vitamins C and D, just like the person you are caring for. Try to eat fewer fried foods, fast foods, and overly processed foods.
Many of the same things that we recommend for seniors are useful for the caregivers. For example, a few minutes of mindfulness meditation is good for everyone. Mindfulness meditation is easy to learn, free, and simple to implement. Just a few minutes once or twice per day can improve your mood, your energy, and your focus. This is not hocus-pocus—there is real science to support practicing mindfulness meditation.
Ask for help
If you are feeling overwhelmed, ask for help, from your family doctor, community social worker, friends or family. There are often many resources available to help, but you may have to look for them. Every city has different resources available for help including respite care.
For those who take care of others, please think of yourself, too. Looking after yourself will make you a better caregiver for others.
The Hamlets at Penticton is a supportive, long-term care and assisted-living community in the beautiful Okanagan area of BC. In a compassionate environment based on the tenets of Christianity, The Hamlets of Penticton offers security and independence for seniors in their retirement years.
If you have any questions about this article or would like to talk to us about our community, please get in touch with us by phone, email, or using the handy form on our Contact Page.