When you’re caring for other people on a regular basis, you have to prioritize your care as well. Not doing that puts you in danger of overloading yourself and possibly burning out.
Examine What You’re Doing
To some extent or other you do have a self-care plan in place. What you need to do is to look closer at it. What’s working? What isn’t working? What do you want to change? Getting a handle on those things is going to help you to know what to tweak and what to add. You may not even be sure what you should make sure you include in your self-care plan, and that’s okay, too. Some caregivers find that it helps to think of themselves as someone else, so that they can think about what would help that person.
Look for Ways to Eat Healthy Foods
When you’re eating healthier foods, you’re giving your body plenty of fuel that it can use to keep your body and your brain running at peak efficiency. This doesn’t mean that you should go revamp your entire diet right this second. Big changes are often much more difficult than smaller changes are. Look for a way to include one or two healthier foods in your diet on a weekly basis. Gradually cull out the foods that are not feeding you as well as they could be.
Make Movement a Bigger Part of Your Day
Moving more is a big deal in every good self-care plan. As a caregiver, you need to stay as healthy as possible and that means moving your muscles in addition to all the other stuff you’re doing. Moving regularly has other effects, too. It can help you with sleep issues, with mood regulation, and with stress as well. These are all really good reasons for you to make exercise a priority for yourself.
Give Yourself Space and Time
You also need to have both time and space just for yourself. You’re taking care of someone that you love, but that doesn’t mean that you have abandoned everything else to do that. You need to be able to have time to decompress and to do things just for you. That might mean that you’re leaving your senior with elderly care providers more often and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You need to be able to take a breath and refresh yourself so that you can come back to caregiving with a clear head and heart.
Self-care isn’t always easy to think about or to keep up with on a regular basis. As a caregiver, though, you need to make caring for yourself a priority.