It’s no secret that caregivers are often so selfless in their care of others that they forget to take care of themselves. This can become even more of a problem over the holidays, when even the non-caregiver is overwhelmed and over scheduled.
Here are some habits you can develop to stay happy and healthy year-round:
- Stay organized to manage your time efficiently. Keep a “to-do” list, schedule appointments, set reminders and establish priorities. Tackle the most important tasks first and delegate to others when possible.
- Get your sleep. While this is much easier said than done, try to make sleep a priority. It may be easier to focus on the quality of your sleep versus the quantity of hours. Some people find it helpful to develop a bedtime ritual, like drinking a mug of calming tea or taking a hot shower. Invest in blackout curtains or a sleep mask to block light. Limit your use of electronics before bed! You can read how screen time may affect your sleep in this article.
- Try to meditate or have quiet time to yourself at least once a day, even if it’s only for 15 minutes. It’s important to take time for yourself when you can.
- Eat healthy meals and stay hydrated. This will help both your energy and immune system.
- Make time for exercise. Try to get your heart-rate pumping each day, even if it’s only for 15 or 20 minutes. You can pop-in a DVD or look up a YouTube video from the comfort of your living room. If possible, get outside for a walk or jog. Your body will thank you!
- Ask for help. It’s likely that you have wonderful friends, family members and neighbors who would be happy to help you if needed (or asked). If someone has given an open offer for help, then don’t be afraid to take them up on it. Chances are they are just waiting to be directed.
- Laugh and cry. Don’t ignore your emotions. Try to do a mental check-in with yourself a few times a day. How are YOU feeling? If needed, seek a counselor. If you are having a rough day and would prefer not to vent to a trusted companion, try writing your feelings in a journal or connecting with others in your situation online. There are many wonderful communities for caregivers! Laughter can also help brighten your mood. Try reading a funny book or watching your favorite sitcom if you’re feeling down.
- Treat yourself! Whether it’s making time for your own doctor appointments or splurging on a spa treatment, don’t neglect your needs.
Did you find any of these tips helpful? We’d love to hear how you manage stress on Facebook!