Self-care. You’ve heard of the term, but you’re not quick sure what it means. Self-care is something you do for yourself that makes you feel better. It could be seeing a doctor and getting all of your vaccinations and tests completed for peace of mind. It could be taking time to de-stress.
While self-care is very important, many family caregivers put their own needs at the end of the list. When the day ends and there’s been no time to read the last chapter in that book or take a warm bath, they simply move on and get ready for the next day. You can’t keep doing that.
The Importance of Self-Care
Why is self-care so important? Stress benefits your body, but too much of it is detrimental. Stress increases inflammation. If you have it controlled, stress can be a normal part of the fight or flight response. Too much can increase your risk of chronic health issues.
Chronic stress has been linked to a higher risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and depression. It can also cause common skin conditions like eczema. If you’re already at risk for some of these health issues, managing your stress must be a priority.
There’s a secondary problem. When you stop focusing on self-care, you’re probably avoiding seeing your doctor or dentist. If it’s been years since you’ve had a physical or dental exam, you’re putting your health at risk.
Dental care impacts your physical health. There have been links between gum disease and cardiovascular disease. It’s just as important to see your doctor. Many types of cancer are curable if caught and treated early.
For most people, a self-care plan should key on emotional well-being, physical well-being, psychological/mental well-being, and spiritual well-being. This means learning to express your fears and frustrations, taking care of yourself in terms of diet and exercise, setting boundaries and limits, and tapping into your inner peace.
Always Take Time for Yourself
The number one rule all family caregivers need to follow is to leave a couple of hours each day for self-care. Use that time to attend a support group, go for a walk or take a fitness class, and cook healthy meals.
How do family caregivers find time to spend on themselves? Hire caregivers to help your parents. If caregivers are with your parents during meals, you’re free to do things for yourself. Call a home care agency to schedule daily visits.
If you or an aging loved one is considering caregivers in Coon Rapids, MN, and the surrounding areas, please contact the friendly staff at CareBuilders at Home Minnesota. Call today 612-260-2273.