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Caregiver Wellness

Updated: Dec 16, 2020

Being a caregiver is a rewarding and fulfilling profession. People in need count on caregivers for all kinds of daily assistance. Caregivers provide a service that makes people happy and in turn, are made happy for their efforts. However, caregivers can easily burn themselves out without even realizing it. They think they can help others more and neglect their health in the process. It’s important to understand your limits as a caregiver. You can’t help others if you end up sick and fatigued. No one will blame you for wanting to be healthy. How else are you going to provide care if you’re not healthy yourself? There are a lot of signs to look out for when you’re working too hard. Look out for these signs when thinking about your overall health:

  • Fatigue

  • Irritability

  • Weight Gain

  • Weight Loss

  • Anxiety

  • Substance Abuse (Alcohol, Smoking, Prescription Drugs)

  • Stress

  • Exhaustion

  • Depression

  • Abnormal Aches and Pains

It’s important to stop and evaluate your condition from time to time. Don’t skip out on what you need because you tell yourself it’s fine or to worry about it later. Feeling guilty for not being able to do more is perfectly normal. However, the people you take care of will understand that you need to be healthy too. Here are a few ways to keep yourself healthy and happy:

  • Exercise: Walks, Hiking, Yoga or the Gym

  • Proper Diet: Eat More Fruits & Vegetables, Avoid High Sugar & Sodium Foods

  • Keep up with Family and Friends

  • Spa Days!

  • Have a Regular Sleep Schedule

  • Take Breaks/Time Off

  • Let Others Help

There are plenty of ways to keep yourself in tip-top shape. Having the right diet and exercising will help the most. Food on the go is convenient but not nutritious. Keep this in mind when thinking about going to a drive-thru. Avoid sugary and processed foods as they lead to your body feeling sluggish and fatigued. Exercise often, even if it’s only for a few minutes at a time. Yoga and other meditation practices are a great way to exercise your body and mind at the same time. Exercise also helps relieve stress and anxiety. Combine this with a regular sleep schedule, and you’ll find yourself feeling great.

When keeping your well-being in mind remember to keep up with your relationships. Isolation is another form of stress or depression. Caretakers tend to spend less time on their relationships because they feel like they can be helping someone else instead. While this is noble, you can’t let it be your whole life. Go out with your friends to the movies or have dinner with your family. Make time for a spa day with someone special. Keeping up with your relationships will lead to better mental health.

Take some time off now and then. Even a short vacation will leave you feeling refreshed. You might think you don’t have the time for a vacation, but it’s important you still try to. If you need some help, don’t be nervous to ask for it. You can always ask your employer, friends, and family for help when you need it. Your employer can help get shifts covered or approve time-off. Friends and family care about you so ask them for any help they can give.

Being a caretaker is an amazing opportunity to help those in need. They appreciate your efforts and you feel great knowing that you helped make a difference in someone’s life. Keep yourself healthy, and you will be able to keep making a difference. Being happy and healthy is just as important for caretakers as it is for those they take care of.

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