It can be difficult to look after your own health when you’re caring for someone else. Refer to our handy list for inspiration.
HEALTHY LIVING TIPS
We understand how difficult it can be to look after your own health when you’re caring for someone else. That’s why we’ve put together this handy, but not exhaustive, list of tips that you can refer to whenever you need a bit of inspiration.
Be prepared with a list of ways that others can help you, and let the helper choose what he or she would like to do. For instance, one person might be willing to take the person you care for out for a walk a couple of times a week, while someone else might offer to pick up groceries or even cook for you. You can also FREECALL your nearest Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre on 1800 052 222 (available 24 hours) for advice on the types of respite (including emergencies) and support available in your area.
Eat more fruits and veggies
Adding more fruits and veggies to our plate is a great way to practice self-care all throughout the day. Research shows that eating berries boosts brain health, and in case we needed another reason to load up on nature’s goodness, filling up on seven portions of fruits and veggies per day might make us happier.
Get plenty of sleep
Sleep is a key component to anyone’s sanity. It’s not always possible, we know, but you need the minimum eight hours of sleep as often as you can. It can help to establish a pattern of getting to bed earlier. If you are struggling to get your quota of sleep, try respite to give you a rest.
Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. You need to hydrate your body all day so that your body maintains the recommended water level it really needs.
Join a support group
A support group can be a great source for encouragement and advice from others in similar situations. It can also be a good place to make new friends.
Have some honey
Research suggests that honey may be more effective than over-the-counter cough syrup at quelling nighttime coughing. Use a medicinal-grade variety such as manuka honey and take up to two full teaspoons at bedtime.
To fend off colds, washing your hands well and often is the best step you can take. Use plain soap and water and scrub for as long as it takes to sing “happy birthday to you” twice.
See your doctor
You and the person you care for may be entitled to the flu vaccination at a reduced cost. Get recommended immunisations and screenings and make sure to tell your doctor that you’re a carer. Don’t hesitate to mention any concerns or symptoms you have.
Whether you’re the big spoon or little spoon, cuddling is good for you, and what better excuse than chilly winter months to cuddle up in front of the fire. Studies show that physical contact reduces stress and releases a hormone called oxytocin that boosts happiness.
Shaking your booty doesn’t just make for a fit physique but is also a great way to keep warm. It may also improve mood and body image, and lead to a more positive outlook.
Some researchers believe that clutter can stress us out and bring us down. On the flip side, sorting through and purging unorganised papers, clothes, knickknacks, or whatever else is crowding your life may help you be more productive, cheerful, and calmer.
Pound the pavement
Not only does it torch calories, but walking is a mood-booster that can help reduce anxiety and stress. Long-distance running in particular may even provide pain relief. Exercise in general is linked to decreasing symptoms of depression, so lace up your sneakers the next time you need a mood lift.
Indulge in some garden therapy
Not only does it get you out in the fresh air, but it rewards you with fruit, or veggies, or whatever beautiful plants take your fancy.
These days, it feels like everyone’s glued to a phone, laptop, or both at the same time. Deliberately taking a break from social media, email, blogging, and so on can help us recharge and gives our brain the downtime it needs to work at an optimal level.
Plan ahead for events
If you have any seasonal events, like Christmas, on the horizon, start making a list of things you need to do early on: for example, shopping, food or presents. Delegate responsibility for certain tasks to other family members since this will reduce your workload. Keep your list for next year; it’ll need tweaking and updating but it will give you reminders of the sorts of things you need to think about.
If things are getting too much for you and you have no one to turn to, remember there are some fantastic helplines available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including Christmas.
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
- Beyondblue 1300 224 636
- Mensline Australia 1300 789 978