November is National Family Caregivers Month, a time for awareness and appreciation of family caregivers everywhere. This occasion is led by the Caregiver Action Network and is intended to raise awareness about issues for family caregivers, celebrate their efforts, and increase support for them. This annual recognition of Caregivers has been a tradition since 1994 and this year’s theme is “Take Care to Give Care.”
This year’s theme recognizing that caregiving is an emotionally and physically draining experience and the stress it causes leads to a higher risk of health issues in our country’s caregivers. To mitigate this, it’s important that caregivers take care of themselves in order to continue caring for their loved ones. In honor of this important month, here are 5 ways caregivers can take care of themselves this month.
1. Maintain a Healthy Diet
Diet is one of the core factors of good health and good health is a tenet of self-care. Proper nutrition will help you stay energized, focused, and cheerful — which is not just good for you, but also the person you care for!
Eating healthy isn’t always easy, but with a little preparation it can definitely be enjoyable. Check out these 25 healthy snacks from Real Simple. Also, don’t forget to drink water throughout the day. Staying hydrated is an important part of a nutritious, balanced diet.
2. Remember: Relaxation is Not Optional
Particularly in today’s busy society, many of us feel like relaxation is a luxury that we have to earn. The reality is that relaxation is something we must do in order to stay healthy. Find a way to incorporate 30 minutes of relaxation into your routine every day. Relaxation means different things for everyone: you can participate in a hobby like reading, knitting, or painting, or catch up on your favorite TV show, or take a walk around the neighborhood. Whatever brings you peace, take some time to do it everyday. No matter what you’ve done today, you have earned some relaxation!
3. Treat Yourself
Every now and again, it’s good to step up your relaxation to a bit of luxury. This can be something small, such as a special treat from your favorite bakery or an appointment at the hair salon. These small joys are a simple and easy way to remind yourself that you are worthy and important.
4. Take a Vacation
Some of us don’t vacation because we can’t afford it, but most of us don’t vacation because we think we can’t leave our work. Family caregivers are especially subject to this mentality because their “work” is someone they love. Multiple studies have found that vacations have positive health effects, including improvements in heart and mental health. Save up a little cash and take some time away — even if it’s just to your neighboring town. Respite care is available in a variety of formats and prices, and the National Respite Coalition is working on legislation that would help caregivers find financing for their respite care.
5. Ask for Help
One of the greatest challenges for many caregivers is learning when and how to ask for help. The member survey by the National Family Caregiver’s Association (NFCA) showed that 65% of family caregivers don’t receive consistent help from other family members. The first step to getting help with your challenging situation is to realize that asking for help does not mean you are weak or a failure. The nature of family caregiving is too much for a single person. Make a list of all the tasks you have to do — everything: your care, your loved one’s care, daily life — and decide which tasks you can delegate. When someone offers help, consult your list and accept.
The Hutchison Funeral Home recognizes the important role of family caregivers in society. We appreciate you and acknowledge your sacrifice. Remember that you deserve relaxation and it makes you a better caregiver for your loved one. Try to incorporate one of these self-care efforts into your life today.
Posted on 11/21/2016 at 3:00:00 AM