Resource Guide for Family Caregivers
Self-care and physical health

It is important to take good care of your physical health, including: diet, exercise, good sleep, and rest.

Exercise can involve many different choices depending on your interest, ability and budget. Exercising need not be expensive or slotted into particular ―exercise class‖ times. For example, for apartment dwellers, exercise might involve a 30-minute walk on the balcony. There are many other inexpensive or free practical exercises that you can enjoy as well such as gentle stretching, walking, jogging, swimming or riding a bike.

Anti-Stress Diet

  • Drink plenty of water (8-12 glasses per day).
  • Eat regular, well-balanced meals.
  • Eat plenty of high fibre foods.
  • Avoid eating too many sweets and drinking too much caffeine.
  • Get at least the minimum daily requirements of vitamins and minerals; vitamins help boost your immune system.

Consider exploring other avenues such as yoga or Tai Chi. For older caregivers in particular, Tai Chi can improve strength and balance and reduce the likelihood of falls. Consult with your doctor or a local fitness specialist to help design an exercise program that will work for you.

Sleep is often an issue for caregivers. It is all too common for caregivers to experience times of extreme sleep deprivation. Good quality sleep is important because it is the only opportunity for your body to repair and reinvigorate itself. Some strategies to combat sleeplessness include:

  • Think of night as friend, not foe.
  • Deal with worries (and try to find solutions) before bedtime.
  • Establish a relaxing bedtime ritual, such as reading, listening to quiet music, sipping on an herbal tea or having a cup of hot milk. Avoid drinking alcohol before going to bed as this can cause restlessness.
  • Exercise regularly.*
  • Fine-tune your sleeping environment. For example, the best sleeping environment is dark, well ventilated, and quiet. Your bed should give your back firm support.
  • Try getting a relaxing massage or taking a warm bath/soak before bedtime.

·

Natural Detoxifying/ Relaxation Bath

1 cup sea salt

1 cup baking soda

3 tablespoons powdered ground ginger

Instructions

Dissolve ingredients in running bath. Use water as hot as is comfortable. Stay in the bath for at least 20 minutes. Use a loofah sponge or washcloth to stimulate the skin surfaces to help release the toxins. Drink at least two glasses of water after the bath to rehydrate.

  • Practice some relaxation or meditation exercises on a regular basis to help you. Inability to sleep can be the result of tension. Remember, the tension did not get there overnight‖ and it will take time, so be patient with yourself.
  • Consult with your doctor. Investigate sleep solutions with your doctor

Finally, you may want to consider exploring various alternative or holistic techniques, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (acupuncture, acupressure, Qi Gong) or Shiatsu and other types of massage aimed at restoring balance in the body.