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Caring For Those Who Care For Others

When you’re responsible for taking care of another person, it can be a struggle to find the time to take care of yourself.  That’s why the AARP should be commended for a challenge they’ve unfurled to caregivers out there.

Starting this week, caregivers are being asked to take part in the Care4YouToo fitness challenge.  Basically, the initiative seeks to get caregivers to take a more active interest in their own health.  If you can make a few minor adjustments to your habits, these can lead to larger adjustments, and before you know it, you might not be able to imagine what life was like before you made these positive life changes.

It’s important to note that something like exercise is actually more important for a caregiver because there’s someone else who’s relying on that person.  If you’re taking care of an aging parent or a spouse who has suffered a debilitating injury, then that person needs you to be in optimum health.

Never forget to carve out time for yourself to engage in the activities that you enjoy.  If you dedicate yourself to pivoting between a 40 hour work week, caring for your loved one, and sleeping, you’re going to get worn down.  That kind of pace simply can’t be kept up; eventually, something will give, and you’ll find yourself dealing with an illness or an injury on top of everything else in your life.

Try to find those portions of the day where you can take a half hour to get in a light workout.  You don’t have to run a marathon or lift 500 pounds during this time.  Even a walk around the block or the office park can give your body the movement it needs to achieve optimum health.  If time is at a premium, then something as simple as extending your lunch break for a half hour will allow you to engage in this exercise.

Also make sure that you stretch your body at regular intervals.  This will be especially important in the early going when your muscles aren’t used to the movements you’re putting them through.  Five to ten minutes of stretching can be the difference between excess soreness and feeling great about your body.

Once you’ve made the time to invite simple walking into your life, you can then begin to increase the intensity of things.  Figure out something that you enjoy and then stick to that.  Hop on the back of a bike, take to a treadmill, or purchase some weights or a resistance band.  Whatever your choice of exercise, pursue it regularly, treating exercise like the reward that it is rather than a chore.


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