Being a caregiver can be one of the most important and personally rewarding roles a person can take on. While there are many benefits and positive experiences associated with caring for a parent or loved one, caregiver burnout is also a very real concern for family caregivers.
“Burnout” can occur when the responsibilities of caregiving start to take a physical and emotional toll on the caregiver. Developing caregiver burnout doesn’t only add stress to your situation; it can also have adverse effects on your health and the quality of care you provide to your loved one.
Caregiver health is important, and it’s essential to lead a healthy lifestyle as you care for a loved one. HarborChase Senior Living would like to provide you with a few caregiver tips to help avoid burnout and promote an active, healthier life for you and your loved one.
Keeping Count: Sustainable Intake
Knowing your body is always an important step to locking down a healthy lifestyle. While no one enjoys thinking about calorie intake, it’s a step to knowing your body and understanding its needs. Most people assume calorie counting is only for those seeking to lose weight; however, calorie counting can also be used to maintain weight and avoid unnecessary and unhealthy weight loss.
If you would like help calculating how many calories you should consume in a day, there are a variety of helpful resources available online. These resources will ask you questions such as age, height, weight, and level of activity to calculate how many calories you should consume a day to maintain your goal weight.
How Important is Healthy Eating?
Calorie counting can help promote sustainable intake, but it can also help you recognize what you’re putting in your body. If you stick to your recommended caloric intake but do so by eating poorly (fast food, sugary drinks, unhealthy snacks, etc.), you aren’t doing much of a service to your body. Recognizing your eating habits is the first step to correcting them and leading a better, healthier life.
If you’re eating the correct amount, you should also eat the right food. After all, a proper diet accounts for 80% of a healthy lifestyle (the remaining 20% belongs to exercise). Unhealthy food, whether you are counting calories or not, takes a toll on your health and can stump your efforts to lead a healthier and happier life. While you can lose weight through exercise or calorie counting alone, it won’t equate to a healthy lifestyle unless you erase poor food choices from your diet. With unhealthy food comes unhealthy side effects, like high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Eating healthier can come with physical health benefits, but it can also come with mental health benefits that can help you avoid feelings of caregiver burnout. In a previous HarborChase Senior Living blog, we share the mental benefits of healthy eating.
The Groove: Routine and Balance
Getting into an exercise routine is another great way of maintaining your health as a caregiver, but it can also benefit the recipient of care. Setting aside 30 minutes to an hour, three to four times a week, will help improve the health of the caregiver, help prevent caregiver burnout, and place the recipient of care in a healthier frame of living, too.
Research shows that exercise can help reduce stress, aid in relaxation and sleep, and improve your overall mental state of mind. Find a routine that works best for you and your loved one and get into the habit!
As you care for a parent or loved one, the status of a family caregiver is always active. Avoiding caregiver burnout is important, and if you begin experiencing the effects of it, there are options available to help. Many of our HarborChase Senior Living communities offer respite care services. These short-term care services are available for family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties to run errands, get over an illness, or even take a vacation. They can be utilized for a few hours to even a few weeks and are a fantastic way for your parent or loved one to test the waters of senior living!
We invite you to find your ideal HarborChase Senior Living community and schedule a tour!