As caregivers, we tend to put our health on the back burner, but there's no better way to burn out. Yes, our loved ones may be our primary concern, but if we care for them well, we must be in our best health. The last thing we want is an illness or disease that could've been avoided with lifestyle changes. Your health matters too! And not just physical health, but emotional health. Eating well and exercising daily prevent or reduce mood swings, irritability, headaches, unstable eating patterns, and anxiety. It also benefits us by increasing sleep quality, mood, ability to make better food choices, and energy levels. Choosing physical activity over sedentary and whole foods over packaged foods are small choices every day that can add up to significant results. Here are my best tips for staying healthy as a caretaker!
1. Keep it simple- the simpler, the better: hard-boiled eggs, raw veggies and hummus, apples and peanut butter, oranges, whole foods that can be grabbed on the go, using a whole rotisserie chicken for weekly meal prep, etc., and less packaged food/fast food.
2. Plan ahead. Save time and stress by planning your meals and grocery trips. A little food prep goes a long way.
3. Enjoy your food- Choose foods you're excited to make. Finding joy in preparing food can benefit not only your body but your mind also.
4. Exercise- If your loved one is exercising- you're exercising too! Going for fast-paced walks, a workout class, at-home workouts, bike rides, anything to keep your body moving!
5. Remember, it's not about perfection. Changing from eating five times a week at a fast food restaurant to 2 is still progress!