National Family Caregivers MonthNational Family Caregivers Month

Caregiving can be a rewarding experience that presents opportunities to create stronger connections with loved ones, while delivering a greater sense of purpose, but it can also be an overwhelming experience…

According to the CDC, nearly half of caregivers have reported that their health has gotten worse due to caregiving. Of those caregivers who say their health has declined, over half report that declining health has made it harder to support their loved one.

November is National Family Caregivers Month, a month dedicated to devoted caregivers. the theme for 2015 is “Respite: Care for Caregivers.”

What is meant by respite?  As stated by Caregiver Action Network (CAN), “Respite – the chance to take a breather, the opportunity to re-energize – is as important as any other item on your caregiver’s to-do list. People think of respite as a luxury, but considering caregivers’ increased risk for health issues from chronic stress, those risks are a lot costlier than some time away to recharge.”

In other words, caregivers need to take care of themselves.

How can caregivers find respite? By taking time to focus on their health and happiness.

Here are four ways to encourage more respite in your life:

1. Nourish Your Body

Mealtime can be a great time to sit down, eat and just “be.” Take time out to concentrate on your food, breathe in and out and calmly put aside any worries or anxiety as you eat. Remember “you are what you eat,” so ensure you are made up of real, nourishing and energy-boosting foods, not processed, fast or junk foods. And, take a load off and check out these healthy food delivery services.

2. Spend Time with Others

Make it a priority, whether it’s weekly, bimonthly or monthly, to schedule dedicated time with someone special in your life (a spouse, friend, or sibling). Eat at a restaurant, visit a museum, see a show, and just enjoy the company and lending ears of others to keep your spirits high.

3. Incorporate Relaxation Practices

Focus on doing something nice for yourself that is centered on relaxing and de-stressing. Attend a yoga class, get a massage, read a book, meditate, etc. Find a regular practice, schedule time on your calendar as if it is a doctor’s appointment and don’t be late!

4. Engage in Physical Activity

Engage in some form of regular physical activity to release stress and clear your mind as exercise is good for both the body and soul. Take a workout class, go for a jog, walk around the block – just get your body moving and burn off any anxiety, stress or negative energy. Again, schedule this activity and stay committed to it. Your body and mind will thank you.

National Family Caregivers Month is a time to take the same love and energy that you give to others and also give it to yourself.  

Natalie Drugan is a nutrition and lifestyle health coach. Natalie is dedicated to helping others make healthy choices centered on clean food, toxic-free environments and happy living. Natalie received her nutrition health coaching certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in NYC, the world’s largest nutrition school. As a Certified Nutrition Health Coach, she studied over 100 dietary theories and learned from world-renowned experts and doctors including Andrew Weil, MD, Walter Willet, MD, Mark Hyman, MD and Deepak Chopra, MD. Natalie is board certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP). Additionally, Natalie received her BBA in Marketing from Texas A&M University.

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