Are you currently responsible for taking care of a family member? You are not alone.
In fact, more than 1 in 5 Americans are caregivers who provide care to an adult or child with special needs. That’s about 53 million adults in the US (21.3% of the adult population).
While your responsibilities are important, it’s essential to make time for yourself, too. Otherwise, you could burn out while balancing your responsibilities. By learning how to take care of yourself, you can improve your mental and physical wellbeing.
Not sure where to start? Keep reading to learn how to take care of yourself with these easy tips.
1. Take a Breath
It’s normal to feel a little stressed out at times. One of the easiest ways you can learn how to take care of yourself is by developing your awareness.
The next time you feel stressed, step away from the situation for a few minutes.
Close your eyes and take a deep breath. It’s normal for distracting thoughts to appear. Let them pass and focus on your breathing instead.
As you breathe, inhale through your nose for five seconds, hold it for five seconds, then exhale for five seconds. Continue these steps for a few minutes, all the while focusing on your breath.
Using relaxation techniques like breath awareness, yoga, and meditation can help you quiet your anxiety.
2. Make a Move
Caregivers spent a collective 34 billion hours caring for their loved ones in a single year. Unfortunately, not everyone finds time to focus on their own mental and physical needs.
Try to find times in your routine to get your blood pumping. Exercise is a fantastic way to mitigate stress. It can also help you keep your body performing at its best.
3. Eat Well and Rest
With so much to do for everyone else, it’s easy to forget your own needs. Take care of yourself first by starting the day off strong.
Eat well to ensure your body is getting the nutrition it needs. Otherwise, skipping meals can impact your mood and health.
Get plenty of sleep, too. Develop a regular sleep schedule and avoid habits like watching TV before bed. Otherwise, inadequate sleep can add to your stress, which impacts your mental and physical health.
4. Spend Time with Others
Please take care of yourself by finding time to socially connect with other people.
Schedule a regular dinner with friends and family members. You can also join caregiver support groups. They might suggest other ways to take care of yourself you haven’t considered.
You don’t have to leave your loved one alone for these little breaks. Instead, you can schedule relief visits and have an expert carer step in. You can read more here to learn how relief visits can support your caregiving responsibilities.
Put Yourself First: 5 Ways to Take Care of Yourself as a Caregiver
Please take care of yourself. While your caregiver responsibilities are important, your mental and physical wellbeing is essential, too. With these tips, you can develop a routine with your unique needs in mind.
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