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To provide care, practice self-care first

Caregiving for a parent, spouse or loved one is rewarding and fulfilling. It’s also challenging and stressful.

You may find yourself physically and mentally exhausted, teetering on the edge of burnout. It’s important you take care of yourself so that you can provide care for those who depend on you.

Try these self-care strategies to keep you healthy and happy in your caregiver role:

  • Take "you" time. Schedule at least one activity that you enjoy each day. This can be anything from reading, to exercise, gardening or shopping.
  • Eat nourishing meals. Plan simple meals in advance. A balanced diet improves your mood and decreases your chances of illness.
  • Accept help. Accepting help is a sign of strength. Allow others to contribute to your daily tasks when offered, and reach out to a friend, family member or medical professional if you need to talk to someone about your mental health.
  • Spend time with others. Spending time with friends or family helps keep your spirits up. Avoid those who bring you down or drain your energy. Protect yourself and your energy by not overcommitting.
  • Laugh. Laughter really can be the best medicine. Try to find humor each day by spending time with those who make you laugh, watching a funny movie or listening to a comedic podcast.
  • Stay active. You don’t need to spend hours in a gym. Simply set time aside daily to stretch, resistance train, swim, bike or walk.

If you’re caring for someone impacted by Alzheimer’s, the Healthy Aging Conference on Sept. 24 at the Radisson Hotel in La Crosse aims to raise awareness about dementia and how we can help those on their Alzheimer’s journey. Register online.

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