Put Your Oxygen Mask On First: Self-Care for Caregivers
Most of us have sat on an airplane, anxiously awaiting take-off. We often typically zone out and forget to take in the importance of this statement: in the event of an emergency, put your oxygen mask on before you help others around you. If you sit back and really digest these words, you will understand the fact that if you were to run out of oxygen, you would not be able to help anyone else with their oxygen mask.
This example coincides with caregiving. If you run out of steam and do not take care of yourself, how will you take care of your loved one? Let’s face it, caregiving is hard and takes a toll on our mental and physical state. I wanted to provide you with some ideas on how you can take care of yourself while you are caring for a loved one.
Exercise increases the production of endorphins, which triggers a positive feeling in the body. Try taking a 30 minute walk, going to a yoga class, or riding a bike.
There are certain foods that can help reduce stress. These include complex carbs such as whole-grain bread, pasta and oatmeal, citrus fruits that contain a high amount of vitamin c, green leafy vegetables which are rich in magnesium, fatty fish such as salmon or tuna, and almonds.
For more information about foods that help minimize stress, click here.
It is important to follow a regular sleep routine even when we are stressed. Adults should aim for eight hours of sleep. Sleep calms down your body. After a good night’s sleep, you will notice an improved mood, better concentration, and the ability to make better decisions. Before bed, try light stretching, taking a warm Epsom salt bath, drinking a hot cup of chamomile tea and/or meditating. It is also important to make sure that your room is dark, cool and quiet.
For more information on how to rest your way to less stress, click here.
There are several support groups around an array of different issues. They can be in-person or even virtual. Support groups bring together individuals who are going through the same life events. The main benefits of a support group are emotional support, the ability to talk openly about what you are feeling, learning new coping skills, and getting feedback from other members.
By Chelsea Alles, LBSW, CCM
If you are caring for a loved one and want to learn more about self-care, a Cariloop Healthcare Coach would love to walk you and your family through whatever you may be dealing with. Become a member or call 1-844-790-5667 to get started.
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