You may be caring for an aging parent, a sick spouse, or raising a child with a disability. Caring for someone with an illness or disability can be rewarding, but doing so also can take a toll on you. You probably give up some of your free time to care for your loved one, leaving you with little time for yourself. Making time to take care of yourself is important to your own health and ensures that you will be able to care for your loved one. Here are some tips to help you reduce your stress and take better care of yourself:
- Find out about community caregiving resources.
- Ask for and accept help.
- Stay in touch with friends and family. Social activities can help you feel connected and may reduce stress.
- Find time for exercise most days of the week.
- Make to-do lists and decide which items you need to take care of first.
- Follow a regular, daily routine.
- Consider faith-based groups for support and help.
- Join a support group for caregivers in your situation (like caring for a person with dementia). Many support groups can be found in the community or on the Internet.
- See your doctor for a checkup. Talk to her or him about symptoms of depression or sickness you may be having.
- Try to get enough sleep and rest.
- Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and low in saturated fat.
- Ask your doctor about taking a multivitamin.
- Take one day at a time.
Keep in mind, taking better care of yourself will help you feel better and make you a better caregiver for your loved one.