It’s all too easy to neglect yourself when you’re an informal caregiver. Far too many caregivers don’t eat or exercise like they should, which places their health at risk and lowers the quality of care provided. Thankfully, staying mentally and physically sharp while caring for an elderly loved one is possible by using the right approach. Using these diet and exercise tips for caregivers should help you to stay refreshed.
Healthy Eating Habits for Caregivers
One of your goals as a caregiver is making sure that your loved one doesn’t get malnourished. But getting your body the essential daily nutrients that it needs is equally important. Here are some healthy eating habits to include in your everyday routine:
Don’t neglect breakfast
Growing up you probably heard that breakfast was the most important meal. Neglecting breakfast can make you lethargic throughout the day and interfere with decision-making. Keep your body and mind fresh and focused by eating a protein-rich breakfast every morning. Eggs, turkey, Greek yogurt and whole grain cereals are all excellent breakfast choices.
Eat nutritious snacks
All that energy you expend providing care needs to be replenished. Carry around nutritious snacks like nuts, fresh fruit, peanut butter and wheat crackers to stay energized whenever you start to feel hungry between meals.
Watch your portions
Eating too much of certain foods can make you feel tired and sluggish. Instead of eating an entire sandwich for lunch, only eat half and save the rest for later. When dining out, ask the server to box up half your meal up front so you won’t be tempted to overeat.
Avoid unhealthy foods
Try to avoid unhealthy processed foods high in sugar and saturated fats, like microwave popcorn, bacon and granola bars. Replace those with fresh fruits, veggies, poultry and fish. Boiled eggs and certain soups are also better for your body. If you don’t have time to prepare yourself nutritious meals use a crock pot to make enough for several days in advance.
How to Stay Fit While Caregiving
Since you may have little free time for yourself, when you do have a break it’s tempting to rest rather than exercise. But regular exercise provides you with benefits like getting sick less often, sleeping better, stress-relief and feeling more energetic. Here are few ways to stay fit:
Keep it simple
Although joining a health club sounds appealing, it isn’t very practical if you have-to waste precious time changing into the right clothes, driving to-and-from the gym, etc. Instead, try simple forms of exercise like walking around the neighborhood, Yoga or riding a stationary bike. There are numerous online exercise videos that’ll teach you what you need to know.
Exercise moderately for 30 to 40 minutes at least three times a week. Some researchers say that continuous exercise for 30 minutes or more benefits your body most. But if that’s not possible, short bursts of activity throughout the day are also beneficial. Instead of parking close to the store park farther away and walk. When possible take the stairs rather than the elevator.
Set realistic goals
Add purpose to your workout routine by setting realistic goals. For example, focus on relieving stress and building cardio endurance while also shedding a few pounds over the next month. Once you’ve achieved your goals reward yourself with a spa day or new pair of shoes, and then stay motivated by setting new goals.
Note: Always check with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
Reliable In-Home Respite Care for Los Angeles Families
Sometimes even caregivers that exercise and eat right still need to take a well-deserved break. When you’re ready, contact New Wave Home Care and we’ll handle the rest. As a fully licensed home care provider one of our reliable respite caregivers will step in and give your loved one the nurturing they deserve. While serving as an extended family in the home, our compassionate professionals go above-and-beyond in their dedication to providing care for others, while making a difference in the lives of those we serve.
In addition to respite care, our personalized in-home care services include specialized care, transitional care, personal care, medication reminders, hospice support, and dementia and Alzheimer’s care. At New Wave Home Care, it’s not just about caregiving. It’s about heart! To learn more now about our flexible programs and affordable rates, or to set up a FREE in-home assessment for a senior in the greater Los Angeles area, please visit us at: www.newwavehomecare.com.