How Family Caregivers Can Maintain Healthy Habits, Part 2

| By Jodi Horton

Last week we talked about how family caregivers can manage to keep their diet in check through meal prep, fast meals, and convenience items. This week we’d like to focus on the importance of exercise and rest to help you stay in top caregiving shape. We don’t have to tell you how important regular exercise and a consistent amount of rest is to staying healthy; the trick is how to find the time, right? Here are our tips for adding a little more activity and a little more sleep into your days.

Stick to a sleep schedule.

A schedule is often beneficial to the loved one you’re caring for; they rely on the routine. If you can keep a strong routine for your loved one, you can also manage your needs better. A sleep schedule helps enhance our own rest, and your body’s internal clock will come to know when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to wake up.

Nap when your loved one naps.

This advice is frequently given to new moms, but it’s actually great advice for anyone who is caregiving. If you try and tackle too much while your loved one is sleeping or resting, it leaves you tired when they’re awake.

Create an environment conducive to sleep.

We recommend this one in order to maximize your resting time. Some tips for creating a positive sleep environment include a dark room, avoiding screen time in bed, and limit noise. You can also practice some things to help your body relax at the end of the day such as meditation, quiet reading, and avoiding caffeine and heavy meals in the evening.

Look for ways to be active with your loved one.

Sometimes the best way to include activity into your caregiving day is to be active with your loved one. This might mean a walk around in the block in the morning or afternoon, or depending on your loved one’s skill level, you can stretch and do some simple exercises together at home.

Sneak exercise into your daily activities.

Sometimes it’s just about sneaking in lots of little workouts throughout your day. Maybe you march in place while you brush your teeth, squat while you wait for a pot of water to boil, do some extra lifts with your laundry basket before you toss the clothes in the machine.

Treat your home as your personal gym.

The gym doesn’t have to be a place you have to go to. It can be your home, and everyday items can be used in your workout. We’ve seen tips such as turning cans into weights, gallons of water into weights, and using towels and paper plates for various functional exercise moves. There’s also a lot you can do with your own body weight. If you have the option, supplement your personal home gym with inexpensive items such as a set of dumbbells, resistance bands, and/or a stability ball.



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