The Stay Healthy Checklist

Caregivers tend to put their health last on their list of priorities. They usually put the needs of their loved ones first. However, the stress caregivers experience makes their health issues more important than ever. Here is a checklist of ways for you to stay fit, both physically and mentally:

Organize!

Invest in a weekly planner for on the go and a calendar to hang on the wall at home. This will assist with keeping track of doctor appointments (yours and your loved one’s), shopping days, when bills are due, or time to yourself (yes, you should schedule that in, too). You can try a program like Google Calendar, which includes a color coordinator. Therefore, your appointments and tasks can be one color, while your loved one’s appointments can be another color.

Keep your appointments!

Don’t neglect your health needs! Make sure to visit your doctors regularly. This includes your specialists, if you have any. Your heart health, breast health, prostate health, foot care, and dental care are also very important to your overall well-being. Make sure to keep up to date with these doctors as well. You can always use your planner to keep track of your appointments!

Buy healthy snacks!

Caregivers are usually so busy taking care of others, they don’t think about what they’re eating. While it’s easy to go grab a slice of pizza or make a pit stop at McDonald’s, a little preparation the night before can help nip bad habits in the bud. Add peanut butter to celery sticks, grab a baggie of bran cereal, bring along some string cheese and grapes or an apple. These are easy to make and place in sandwich bags the night before, so at least when you grab something to eat, it’s a little healthier than before.

Exercise whenever possible!

I know this seems like the most difficult thing to fit into your schedule, but it is one of the best ways to stay fit and energized. If you can take a small walk around your neighborhood, even with your loved one, it can make a big difference. You can also do small exercises while at home – lunges, sit-ups, and even stretching can keep you energized throughout the day. You can even do exercises with your loved one, as long as it is safe for them.

Take time for yourself!

Take a walk, treat yourself to the movies, attend church, volunteer a couple of hours a week, or curl up and read a book. All of these are ways you can make time for yourself. This is important to keep down stress levels and allow you to regroup. This may also seem too difficult to achieve, but even 20 minutes a day can make you feel re-energized.

 

Published in partnership with Caregiver.com.

Written by: Malika Brown, MSW, LSW