Essential Health Tips for Caregivers
Caregivers – whether employed or informal – must maintain good health to perform their duties actively. You also face health risks while caregiving. If you are aged over 65, you have more than 60% mortality rate compared to non-caregiving people of your age. You also take prescribed medication for insomnia and depression two to three times more than the average US citizen.
The following are important tips that help you attain excellent health and handle the demands of caregiving:
Gain Enough Sleep and Relaxation
As a caregiver, you appreciate the importance of sleep and rest to your physical health. You have to observe consistency with times of sleeping and waking up. You can sleep more comfortably in a cooler and quieter environment. Remember to avoid coffee, alcoholic beverages, and exercise within one to two hours before sleeping.
Ask family members, friends, and respite care services for breaks from caregiving. You may spend that time for leisure. As an alternative, relax for a whole day so your body can recover from strain. Sit on the couch, watch comedy on TV, and refrain yourself from strenuous chores.
Observe an Exercise Plan
Despite your caregiving responsibilities, it is still possible to maintain regular exercise. The key lies in shorter exercise duration for more frequency in time. As an example, you may do stretching, push-ups, and squats within 15 to 20 minutes every day.
Use your day-off from caregiving in more vigorous exercise such as gym workouts or swimming. Another option is to play group sports like basketball or football with acquaintances.
Consume Healthy Food and Beverages
A healthy diet does not mean abstinence from less nutritious foods with fats and sugars. You may eat them sparingly. However, you need to focus on health-giving food and beverages.
Include high amounts of leafy vegetables, whole fruits, nuts, whole grains, and seafood in your diet. Choose white meat instead of red meat. Drink much water, fruit juices, and milk. Pasta, baked potatoes, and dark chocolate actually provide healthy amounts of carbohydrates you need.
When it comes to food, quantity is just as important as nutritional value. As a caregiver, consume enough food because an empty stomach leads to fatigue. You may refrigerate leftover foods and reheat them as instant meals.
Restrict or Avoid Substances
Your caregiving breaks may include alcohol drinking and cigarette smoking to cope with stress. However, smoking damages your lungs and excessive alcohol intake harms your internal organs. Minimize alcohol consumption if you find that abstinence is impossible. You may smoke a cigarette once a week, or quit smoking if you have the will and discipline.
Visit your Doctor Often
As mentioned earlier, caregivers are susceptible to health risks. You may consult your physician routinely for diagnosis of health problems. Doctors can also prescribe vitamin supplements and offer personal advice on healthy living.