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Tips for Increasing Physical Health

Family caregivers are often on an emotional roller coaster. Caring for a loved one can be endearing because you are helping and showing your love and commitment. However, another side to it is very stressful, from finding the right resources and being in a constant care mode where worry and exhaustion often take over.

While often juggling physical and emotional demands, caregivers can be at significant risk for health problems, including mental and emotional strain. Some recognize the dangers and symptoms but are still less likely to practice preventive healthcare and self-care behavior.

Here are a few symptoms to be aware of:

  • Sleep deprivation

  • Exhaustion

  • Lack of mental clarity

  • Poor eating habits

  • Lack of exercise

High blood pressure and cholesterol are two top health conditions due to stress. Getting physically weaker and weight gain are as well.

When I speak with other caregivers, I hear over and over again the reasons why self-care doesn’t happen:

  • I feel selfish if I take the time to do things for myself.

  • I don’t have time to take care of/do something for myself.

  • I am afraid others will judge me for taking time for myself.

  • No one else can care for my loved one if I don’t.

This isn’t about condemning anyone for not practicing self-care because I understand. I was there. I get it. So trust me when I say this; getting out of the cycle of personal neglect can be difficult but necessary.

What can you do? Something as simple as walking can significantly change your overall health and mental well-being. It’s a way to take back some control in your life and ultimately benefit everyone. Restoring your emotional and physical energy and walking releases endorphins that enhance your overall well-being.

To get the benefits, start walking 20 minutes a day thrice a week and increase as you can. I often added 20 minutes to my grocery store run and stopped by a park. If you’re working, take your lunch hour, get out, and move.

Did you use to enjoy a sport like golfing or kayaking? Is no one around to do those with? Look at your local community programs and online event platforms. This will allow you to connect with others and return to doing something you once enjoyed. Find the time; make the time.

One step at a time, open the way.


Cyndi Mariner

Breathing Spaces

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