Caregiving for a parent or loved one is one of the most rewarding tasks to undertake. However, as many caregivers try to find a balance between caregiving and other commitments, it can be physically and mentally taxing.
The person in your care is typically the primary focus, making it easy for you to put your own wants and needs on the backburner. If this frequently happens, it’s only a matter of time before you may start to experience caregiver burnout, or physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion.
Taking care of your body and maintaining a healthy diet is one way to help combat the effects of caregiver burnout. Woodland Ridge would like to take this time to offer a few helpful tips to encourage a healthy lifestyle.
Three Meals a Day Myth
It’s a common thought that a healthy diet consists of three meals per day. While in many cases this is true, that’s more of an average number for the average lifestyle. According to the American Heart Association, it’s not the number of meals per day that matters; it’s your overall calorie count. Three meals won’t aid in a healthy diet if you’re taking in too few or too many calories per day.
Whether you are trying to lose, gain, or maintain weight, there are several free and readily available calorie calculators online to help you figure out what you need to intake per day to achieve your desired outcome. An easy one to remember is calculator.net, which takes into account everything from your starting weight to your height for higher accuracy in calorie estimate. This is helpful to keep in mind since you may not always have the time for three meals in a day; it’s better to have one healthy, calorie-rich meal than nothing at all.
Snacks That Matter
Throughout the day and between meals, it’s natural to feel hungry. It’s during these times that you can thwart your healthy habits by reaching for chips or a candy bar. There are countless healthy and palate-pleasing snacks out there to suit any craving from salty to sweet. A great resource to start looking at the health value of a wide variety of snacks is SnackNation!
While this site primarily sells snacks for office settings, it also provides a varied list of healthy snacks that are readily available from grocery and department stores nationwide. For snacks that require a bit more effort, they also include a variety of recipes!
An Important Reminder
What you do day in and day out makes a difference in the lives of those in your care. However, as a caregiver, you owe it to yourself and to them to stay focused, energized, and maintain your health. While many aspects can impact your health, your diet is a key component. Make sure you get the right amount of calories daily and don’t be tempted by the convenience of fast food meals or junk food snacks.
At Woodland Ridge, we know it can be challenging to avoid caregiver burnout, and we hope you find these tips helpful in your caregiving journey. If you are already experiencing feelings of caregiver burnout and need a break, we provide short-term care in our respite care community—for a few hours or a few weeks! Respite care allows family caregivers, like yourself, to take a worry-free break or will enable seniors to recuperate after a rehab or hospital stay. We encourage you to contact our respite care team to learn more!