I am a caregiver – Caring for myself
While caregiving may be rewarding, it can also be stressful, physically demanding, and isolating. One of the ways you can be at your best as a caregiver is by looking after yourself. Following these tips may be a good start to taking better care of yourself.
Ask for help
To stay healthy and manage stress, arrange help from family, friends, community resources, and professionals
Match up the right skills with the right people.
Who could help me?
For example, one friend may like to drive while another one likes to cook.
Put together a list of things you need help with – shopping, errands, yard work, cooking, visiting the person in your care.
How can the person in my care stay involved?
Encourage the person in your care to stay involved. Can he or she arrange appointments?
Order supplies online? Arrange visits from friends?
Get enough sleep
Organize regular night-time help from family, volunteers, friends, or paid caregivers so you can get some nights of uninterrupted sleep.
Create a calming, regular bedtime routine, such as taking a bath or reading.
Keep your bedroom dark, cool, and quiet.
Cut down on caffeine, alcohol, and avoid eating big meals close to bedtime.
What can help me get ready for a good night’s sleep?
Eat a balanced diet.
Add more vegetables and fruit to your diet— especially dark green, red, and orange vegetables, beans, and peas.
Eat more grains and fat-free or low-fat dairy products.
Vary your protein—seafood, lean meat, poultry, eggs, beans, peas, soy foods, and unsalted nuts and seeds.
Staying active may help you sleep better, feel less stressed, improve your mood, and help you feel more alert and energetic.
Aim for 2 and 1/2 hours or more of moderate intensity physical activity a week. You can break up activities into 10-minute chunks and work your way up to your goal.
Schedule visits from family, friends, or volunteers so you can get regular exercise.
Join a caregivers’ support group or online forum at sites such as www.caregiver.org or at sites for specific diseases or conditions.
Being a caregiver can be isolating. Reach out to family and friends. Use email and social media websites and regular phone calls to stay in touch.
What are your signs of stress? Are you feeling irritable, forgetful, or sleeping poorly?
Pinpoint what is causing your stress and speak to your healthcare provider.
Take action with activities that can reduce stress for you. Taking a walk. Going to a movie. Gardening. Meditating. Setting a regular date for coffee or a meal out with a friend.
Choose what works for you.
Make time for yourself. Everyone needs a break from caregiving. Ask others to help and support you. Make and keep all of your regularly scheduled healthcare appointments.
Call Lupus LA with any questions at 310-657-5667.
This material was developed by GSK.