As a caregiver, you are shouldering two important responsibilities: taking care of your loved one and also taking care of yourself. Both are equally important and interdependent for how can you care for someone else if you are not well? Here are 20 tips to help you find time for yourself and take better care of yourself.
Relax—many of these ideas to take a “relaxation break” to help manage stress do not take a lot of time:
- Deep breathing—one of the most effective ways to deal with stress and anxiety!
- Meditation—you can use a short break at work or home as time for quiet meditation
- Stretching—loosen those muscles that become tight when you are stressed
- Massage—you can massage the back of your neck, jaw, temples, etc. yourself or take a break and visit a massage therapist (a massage school is a great place for an affordable massage)
- Walking—Get up and walk around the house or the office for a few minutes
Make time for yourself:
- Always carry something like reading material, sketch pad, a small knitting project, etc., with you to fill time when you are waiting in line or in the doctor’s office
- Use commute time to listen to recorded books or your favorite music or podcasts
- Think about what makes you happy – make a list and then focus on ways to work one or two into your daily routine each day
- Schedule time for yourself
- Take a vacation day just for yourself
Making time for a healthy lifestyle:
- Walk and use the stairs whenever you can
- Exercise while watching TV
- Plan healthy meails in advance for the entire week and make a shopping list
- Keep healthy snacks handy (at home, at work, in the car….)
- Go to an exercise class or take a walk during your lunch break
- Sort mail, etc., as soon as it comes in the door
- Chunk the junk – reduce clutter!
- Give away items you don’t use anymore
- A place for everything and everything in its place
- Create a central message area at home
Reference: Family Caregiver Education Program of Area Agencies on Aging and Aging and Disability Resource Centers
We hope this information is helpful to you in the important work you do as a family caregiver.
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