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Taking care of yourself

As you embark on the journey of caring for your parents, your life may become very stressful. In order to ensure you are able to continue to fulfill your obligations as parent, spouse, and employee, you will need to take care of yourself. Maintaining your health and good humour will require effort, but it’s an important part of being able to care for others effectively. You’ll need a firm belief that you deserve to spend some time on yourself, and you’ll have to defend that time against the many other demands you’ll feel. Here are a number of small things you can do to start you off on the right foot:

  • Get enough sleep. You may not have the time to do everything you’d like, but getting enough sleep helps you stay calm to do the important things with good humour.
  • Eat right. That means a lot more fruit, vegetables, and water, and less salt, fat, and refined sugars. Be sure you get the calories you need in their most nutritious form and you can feel good about treating yourself to an indulgence once in a while.
  • Keep the lines of communication open with your spouse or partner. As busy as you may be, don’t forget they are there for moral support and to help out when you need it.
  • Take some time off. Spend some time thinking about what your needs are and be up front with them. Don’t feel guilty about devoting some time to hobbies and your own friends. Be firm, not resentful.
  • Most importantly, take a deep breath and appreciate the small pleasures.

Caring for a parent can be very stressful, but there’s much you can do to help you prepare yourself for the road ahead. A big part of that preparation is talking to your parent, siblings, your spouse or partner, and your friends, but it’s also a big part of getting the moral support you need.

Although the phrase "parenting your parents" is a bit of a misnomer – caring for someone isn’t necessarily parenting them – many of the same emotional tools are required. Patience, understanding, firmness, empathy, and the willingness to look out for someone else are all skills you’ll put to good use. Use them on yourself as well – give yourself a break.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2017. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/Caring-for-Aging-Parents

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