Caregiving can take a toll on you, both mentally and physically. It is all too common to lose sight of yourself while spending most of your time dedicated to your patients. Although this will bring an immeasurable amount of joy into your life, it can simultaneously begin to have subtle adverse impacts on your wellbeing.
Like most jobs, being a caregiver will naturally impact your daily life in many ways. However, unlike most jobs, the impressions can be slightly more severe on your lifestyle and wellbeing. Below we discuss what you should keep in mind as you go through your day to day while caregiving.
One of the main impacts caregiving can have on a person, is stress. Stress can filter into many aspects of your life, and for that reason many struggle to keep it under control. Stress can affect your mind, body and behavior and leaving stress unchecked in these areas can be dangerous. When left untreated it is all too common to develop issues such as racing thoughts and constant worrying which often cause insomnia. Luckily, there are many ways to address these issues such as holding open conversations with your primary care provider or trying out stress-relieving activities like meditation.
Healthy habits tend to go by the wayside when caring for your recipient. From your sleep schedule being interrupted, to not having enough time to exercise, it can become extremely easy to lose yourself in the patients schedule. Unhealthy snacking is also fairly common. An easy way to avoid eating unhealthy is setting time aside on Sundays to pre-plan your meals and pre-package your snacks. This will allow you to avoid the desire to stop at McDonalds for lunch, as your meal will be waiting for you in the fridge, fully prepared!
HOW TO GIVE CARE TO YOURSELF
You can not pour from an empty cup. With caregiving, it’s detrimental for both you and the patient that you take care of yourself first. When you are feeling 100 percent, you’re able to provide your loved one or client with the best possible form of care. Take a step back in your busy schedule and look in the mirror, are you the best possible version of yourself?
Take time for yourself
Caregivers lives can become consumed by their time devoted to checking in on their patients well-being. Their self-care is easily pushed to the side, and left to deal with at another time. Spoiler alert; that time rarely comes. Sectioning out time to specifically focus on yourself is crucial, however sticking to that timetable is even more paramount. Go for a run in the morning or try reading a book before bed. Be sure you stop and do something for yourself throughout the week, and you will see changes in your overall mood and wellbeing.
Visit the doctor regularly
Your life is filled with doctor visits, organizing medication, and physical therapy. All very beneficial health check-ins. However, as a caregiver, none of it is for you! With the amount of time you spend in a doctors office, you would think caregivers have a better handle on their health, yet they suffer from poorer physical health than their non-caregiving counterparts. Scheduling an annual doctor’s visit is a great place to start when it comes to putting your health at the forefront. Once that becomes habitual, healthy habits will ultimately follow.