It’s easy to overlook the importance of taking care of yourself. The physical, emotional, and mental demands of caring for a loved one with a serious illness can be exhausting and life-consuming. Self-care for caregivers is essential to staying healthy and strong enough to provide the best possible care to your aging loved one.

Ready to start focusing on yourself? Learn more about the importance of taking care of yourself and how to adopt therapeutic techniques into your everyday habits.

5 Tips for Prioritizing Self-Care for Caregivers

If you are providing support and care to an aging loved one, working full time, and raising a family of your own, finding time for self care can seem impossible. As difficult as it can seem sometimes, you need to be your best self while trying to be a provider for all of the important priorities in your life.

Below are five tips to help prioritize self care for caregivers like yourself.

1. Eat a Healthy Diet

It’s easy when you’re on the go all the time to rely on fast food or snacks to keep you moving, but a healthy diet is essential for your physical and emotional health. Nutritious and well-balanced meals can give you the energy and sustenance you need to take care of your loved one and your other responsibilities.

2. Get Plenty of Rest

While it’s tempting to try and get a jump-start on the next day’s work at night, sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on your mood, mental health and emotional state. Aim to get seven to eight hours of restorative sleep each night so you can be ready for whatever the day ahead throws your way. Get into a routine about an hour before bed where you put away your mobile devices, enjoy a nice warm beverage and unwind from the day.

3. Exercise Often

Maintaining a consistent workout schedule is difficult even if you’re not a caregiver, so give yourself some grace and add in workouts whenever you can. Go for a walk while making phone calls or scheduling appointments, do a quick yoga routine to start or end your day, or spend some time doing yardwork. Exercise promotes better sleep, helps reduce depression and increases energy. Aim for 20 minutes a day in any form you can get it.

4. Make Time for Hobbies

The best way to focus on self-care for caregivers is by getting additional support. An extra set of hands will give you the reprieve you need from time to time to focus on yourself and your interests. You need something that will excite you and allow you to step outside of the caregiver role from time to time and focus on what makes you happy. Bonus points if you find a hobby that also allows you to get some exercise, such as hiking, swimming, or bicycling.

Caregivers who take the time to pay attention to their own physical and emotional health are better equipped to handle the challenges of supporting someone with a serious illness. The uncertainty of knowing what to expect from one minute to the next when caring for a loved one can take a toll on you. Improving your relationship with yourself and understanding the importance of taking care of yourself will make you better equipped to manage the ups and downs of daily life.