Taking Care of the Caregiver

20. January 2016 Self Care 4

Caringforcaregiver

Between family obligations, work obligations and caring for your parents, taking care of yourself can sometimes fall off the “to do” list. While we know how important it is to take care of ourselves and we certainly work hard to make sure everyone else is eating healthy and getting enough sleep, we sometimes don’t listen to our own advice.

While I am not caring for an aging parent, I do have two young children, run a full-time business and struggle with a chronic illness, so I know what busy feels like and I know how frustrating it can be when people say, you need to take better care of yourself. We all know this, but doing it isn’t always realistic.

After a brutal last few months that have begun to affect my health, I have begun making small tweaks to my lifestyle. Just a few small changes can make a big impact! Here are just a few ways to take better care of yourself:

  1. Eat better: I can’t guarantee that I’m going to get all of my servings of fruits and vegetables in everyday, but I can take healthy snacks with me when I’m on the run. I have started packing my own lunchbox when I pack my kids’ lunches. I don’t always have time to pack a full lunch, but I can throw a banana, little cuties, granola bar and string cheese in the bag. Every little bit helps!
  2. Move more: With a 2 year old and 6 year old, I am literally at someone’s beck and call from 6:30 a.m. until school drop off time, then at work until 5 p.m., then picking up my kids and doing my parenting duties until they are in bed at 8 p.m., followed by prepping for the next day…and rinse and repeat. This doesn’t leave much time for a walk around the block, much less a trip to the gym. Instead, I’ve started parking my car a block away at school drop off – one block to school and one block back is more than I was doing before. I also try to park as far away from the door at all of my errands and stops throughout the day. I’m hoping the steps are adding up.
  3. Sleep more: While I could get up at 5 or 5:30 a.m. to get a little workout in, I choose to sleep for that extra 30 or 60 minutes. I have been told by my doctor and have read enough articles about autoimmune diseases to know that sleep is critical – particularly if you have a stressful lifestyle. I struggle with insomnia and have a difficult time falling asleep, so I have made the decision to not rob myself of any sleep that I am able to get. I always feel better when I get a decent amount of sleep, so it is an area I don’t sacrifice.
  4. Breathe: Of course, my preference would be to go on vacation to get away from it all, but well, that isn’t always possible. Since I can’t get away, I’ve been attempting meditation. I haven’t quite gotten to the point where I do it frequently enough to show a significant impact on my health, but I can say that thanks to the meditation app I downloaded, when I do take a 15 minute meditation break, I always feel better afterwards. Studies have shown that meditation can help reduce blood pressure and improve physical and emotional responses to stress. It’s worth a shot, isn’t it?

What little tweaks do you do to help manage the daily stress and improve your self care?

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4 thoughts on “Taking Care of the Caregiver”

  • 1
    Cathy Lawdanski on February 18, 2016 Reply

    Great choices. Love the one where you pack some healthy snacks for you when you pack your kid’s lunches. I agree on the sleep. You can find ways to get extra steps in during the day, but sleep is critical. I can relate to the insomnia, so if I can sleep a few extra minutes in the morning, I do it! I’ve started meditating too and use the Headspace App. I find that 10 minutes usually leaves me feeling refreshed. Thanks for sharing these great tips. I know they will benefit a lot of people.

    • 2
      Kathy Macaraeg on February 19, 2016 Reply

      Thanks Cathy! I find it is really helping to have some healthy snacks when I’m out and about. I tend to get a headache if I don’t eat enough.

  • 3
    Nikki Frank-Hamilton on February 23, 2016 Reply

    LOL! You are a fly on my wall this week, aren’t you. I need to make sure I keep looking at this list, and actually do it. When things are stressful I tend to not eat, or eat comfort food (carbs) and I’m not getting much sleep. I am pinnning this too, thanks so much for the push. xx

    • 4
      Kathy Macaraeg on February 23, 2016 Reply

      Hi Nikki –

      To funny. I am the worst about caring for myself so I’m really striving to help others and myself work on that. Total work in progress though:-)

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