- I just got off the phone with my mom. It got me thinking.
We often skip our workouts or self care activities. We say things to ourselves like:
- "I'm fine. I'll start going soon."
- "Mom needs help today. I'll do that next week."
- "I feel selfish."
- "I don't have time."
- "Others will judge me."
We know the pressure caregivers feel. You're stretched thin, and you are so important to the person. But if you're not taking care of yourself, it just doesn't matter.
Caregivers often feel they need "permission" to spend time away, but lack of exercise is a serious symptom of potential burnout.
No one wins if that happens.
Exhausted caregivers don't make good decisions.
It's no accident that flight attendants instruct passengers to secure their own oxygen mask before helping someone else, right?
It Can Be Hard Work
The Home Alone Alliance recently reported that half of America's 40 million family caregivers don't get enough instruction or guidance on the care they're providing. They often experience pain of their own. And they can be socially isolated.
Much of caregiving requires physical work – like carrying wheelchairs in and out of vehicles, helping the loved one up and about, and more.
That's why caregivers have to stay strong and agile and keep their stamina up.
We recommend caregivers build muscle, strengthen their core, and burn fat.
It doesn't take as much time away as some might fear. Just 30 minutes, three times a week should be manageable for anyone.
Exercise at a fitness studio or gym also is a great social outlet, which is vital for everyone, especially those who might be shut in much of the time.
I'm always happy to help you figure out these challenges. It's not selfish to take care of yourself. It displays a smart strategy to deal with a challenging situation.