Caring for another is no simple task—it takes a lot of time, commitment and patience. In all of the hard work, there’s often something caregivers forget: caring for themselves. When you’re in the position to care for another, you need to make sure someone (namely YOU!) is taking care of your health and well-being, otherwise everyone will suffer.
We hold a special place for those who give their days or nights (or days and nights) helping another through life, and we want to be sure caregivers get what they need. If you’re a caregiver or you know someone who is, tune into these important tips for staying healthy and well:
Start chiropractic care. Caring for someone else can be very stressful—and as chiropractors, we know that stress is a major contributor to subluxation and decreased spinal health. Regular adjustments also help you stay healthy so can care for those who need you.
Don’t forget your personal health appointments. Make sure you’re marking your calendar for important checkups and paying attention to any major changes in your body.
Keep your immune system in check. A healthy diet and exercise are two great ways to maintain a healthy immune system. If you’re caring for someone who is ill or susceptible to illness, it’s important for both of you that you remain healthy.
Find ways to exercise on site. If it’s hard for you to get away each day, select workouts that can be done close to home or at home. Yoga and Pilates are great to do anywhere; you can also do strength training or kettlebell with little equipment. Also, look for some apps you can download with great exercise tutorials.
Choose your foods wisely. Certain foods may trigger depression, such as refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, processed foods and hydrogenated oils. Steer clear of these guys and opt for organic lean meats, vegetables, nuts and healthy fats. You’ll also feel more clear and alert by eating well.
Get your vitamin D. You can increase your body’s production of vitamin D by spending some time in the sun, eating beef, eggs, cheese and fatty fish, or taking supplements. Vitamin D is a critical component to overall health, and research has shown that it may help relieve symptoms of depression, boost immunity, decrease the risk of fracture in older adults, increase muscle strength, control blood pressure and more.
Take breaks. Everyone needs time to themselves; it’s an important part of your mental and emotional wellness. If you feel like it’s too hard to get away, even for small amounts of time, consider talking to friends or family members who can help. Another option is respite care, which can provide caregivers temporary breaks.
Join a support group. There are many people who are in your same position, and it can really help to be able to lean on someone who truly understands. Search for some great resources online, or talk to the local hospital to see if they have any recommendations.