Being a caregiver to a senior loved one who requires home care can be a wonderful way to show how much that person means to you and an opportunity for real personal growth. But it can also be stressful, so a caregiver’s health is an important consideration. Holistic health for caregivers is an approach that can help make a meaningful difference in the way caregivers not only feel but in how they deliver care to their loved ones at home. Unfortunately, caregivers are often so focused on the needs of others, that they overlook their own self-care. Here, we’ll examine a few ways in which you can achieve holistic health and why it matters to you as a care provider.
Explore Better Ways to Eat Wholesomely and Regularly
When we’re stressed, depressed, tired, or angry, we often make bad food choices, turning to fast foods, snacking, or nutritiously poor options that may be satisfying on a short-term basis but that offer nothing of real value to our health. In fact, vitamin and mineral deficiencies have been linked to numerous mental health issues, including:
- Bipolar disorder
- Anxiety disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Attention deficit disorder
Eating holistically means not just making sure foods come from all the main groups and that they’re as free as possible of pesticides or additives. It also means to eat regularly, to not starve yourself, or delay a meal if you don’t have to. When we eat well and on a regular schedule, we reward our minds and bodies for all the hard work they do for us every day and are far better prepared to handle what caregiving requires of us.
Get Plenty of Rest for Your Senior and Yourself
Eating well can also have a beneficial effect on one’s sleep, and sleep is hugely important to home caregiving. Getting enough sleep is essential to feeling rested and being able to meet the responsibilities of care, but unfortunately, as we age, the quality of our sleep tends to deteriorate due in part to changes in our sleep-wake circadian rhythm. Living with depression can also affect the quality and quantity of our sleep. Fortunately, there are a number of holistic approaches that can improve sleep, including making sure to eat a good breakfast, avoiding long naps, and not going to bed too early. Avoiding alcohol right before bedtime, powering down your phone and computer, and hitting the sack at the same time each evening are also smart moves toward a good night’s sleep.
Pay Attention to Your Mood: Be the Caregiver You Want to Be
As a caregiver providing home care for your senior, paying attention to your mood — how patient you may or may not be, how calm you are, how focused you feel — is critical to delivering quality care to your loved one. When we are stressed, anxious, sad, or angry, we’re far less likely to be present and available to help our loved ones in the ways they may need. Additionally, we’re less able to identify our own self-care needs. Luckily, there are numerous holistic answers to improving a mood that’s challenged or taxed, including massage therapy, talk therapy, aromatherapy, exercise, and more. These approaches can help lift your spirits and provide you with the calm and perspective you need to be the caregiver you want. They can also mean the kind of self-care you deserve.
If you’d like to find out more about holistic health for caregivers, we can help provide you with other caring ways to improve your well-being. Reach out to Senior Care Authority today.