As a caregiver, you are used to putting everyone else’s needs before your own. After all, the main reason for choosing this career is precisely to take care of others. For many, it’s not just a job, but a calling. A daily opportunity to have a positive impact on someone else’s life — especially when that someone else is in dire need of care and compassion. And, while all of these sentiments are laudable, it’s also true that at some point, you need to take a step back and take care of yourself. After all, you can’t pour from an empty cup. That’s why it’s important that you give yourself a fresh new start to be the best caregiver possible.
5 New Year’s Resolutions for Caregivers
1. Get More Sleep
When you have a full plate, getting enough sleep is the first thing that’s sacrificed. After all, you have to take care of your clients, your own family, and household chores. But the reality is that even if you think you’re being practical, the long-term effect of continuously skimping on sleep affects your brain’s ability to function properly. Do it long enough, and it becomes harder to focus on a task, think clearly, and it lowers your immune system’s ability to fight off diseases — leaving you more susceptible to viruses and causing you to take longer to recover from them.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults get more than seven hours of sleep per night. This number is increased to nine hours once you hit your 60s. Also, pay close attention to the quality of sleep you’re getting. If you can’t fall asleep, keep waking up repeatedly throughout the night, or don’t feel well-rested in the mornings, you may need a new mattress or are experiencing a sleep disorder.
2. Eat Healthy
When you’re running around all day with things to do, it’s easy to grab whatever’s easiest — and this often includes processed snacks from vending machines or going through a fast-food drive-through window. However, while these types of options may hit the spot short-term, they also increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
To make it easier for you to eat healthy, bring your own lunches from home, if possible. Make sure that most of your meals include vegetables, whole grains, and fruits. These are low in calories and nutrient-dense. Pay close attention to their fiber and protein content so that you feel satisfied and fuller for longer. Substitute sodas for flavored sparkling water. Keep healthy foods available for snacking — such as apple slices and almond butter, carrots and hummus, pistachios, or berries. Also, get in the habit of reading labels, since a lot of products in the market are thought to be healthy, but are actually loaded with sugar and unpronounceable ingredients created in a lab.
3. Exercise Regularly
Although it’s common to think of exercise as yet another chore to do, there are many ways to make it enjoyable — such as making a playlist of your favorite songs and going outside for daily walks, looking for fun at-home workout videos on YouTube, or joining a gym with a friend. Tracking your progress is also a huge motivator, since seeing how you gain fitness and/or lose weight (if necessary) will keep you wanting to do more.
Exercising regularly has many benefits — such as helping you maintain a healthy weight, making you feel good as you release endorphins, and promoting good mental health. It also makes your body circulate blood better and lower the risk of many common diseases, including Type II diabetes, certain cancers, high cholesterol, and heart disease.
4. Take Time For Yourself
Your needs are as important as everyone else’s. You already dedicate your life to caring for others, and taking time to do things you enjoy not only makes you happier, it also makes you a better caregiver. For example, running like a headless chicken from one shift to another — without taking time to do things to decompress — can leave you feeling resentful and burned out.
While sleeping enough hours, eating well, and exercising will do wonders to improve your quality of life, taking time to do leisure activities — such as watching your favorite TV shows, knitting, or reading a good book is the equivalent of taking a mental and emotional vacation. It lets you stop worrying for an hour or two, and just enjoy yourself.
There are many ways to help you manage stress. Finding a hobby you love, meditating, talking with your friends, or even dancing to your favorite songs at home are good ways to decompress. They also give you something to look forward to — and having that anticipation feeling gives you hope and helps you get through difficult moments.
Contact Care Options for Kids for Home Health Care in Florida
It can be hard to balance your time between work, home, and caring for a child. That’s why our team of professionals at Care Options for Kids is here to help.
Our home health care services offer support in the comfort of your home. We refer loving and competent nurses to provide customized care for families — from a few hours a day to around-the-clock supervision. Contact us directly to speak with a home health care professional or request a free in-home assessment. Together we can determine the best plan of action to keep your loved ones happy and healthy.
If you or a loved one are considering Pediatric Home Health Care Services in Florida, contact the caring staff at Care Options for Kids. Call today at (888) 592-5855.