Make Healthy Habits a Hobby!

Senior married couple eating healthy food for breakfast.

Proper self-care is essential to being the best senior caregiver you can be. If you haven’t already, start taking active steps to maintain your self-care on a daily basis. Start with something small: a new yoga routine or trying out a new recipe. If you stick to this daily regimen, positive habits will form along with good feelings that will drown out the dreaded “caregiver guilt.” If you’re looking for some ideas on how to do this, look no further! The United Methodist Communities HomeWorks team in NJ has put together an overview of self-care, including examples of self-care hobbies and the added benefits they have for senior caregivers. 

The importance of self-care for caregivers

Self-care is important for everyone – and can be vital to caregivers’ mental and physical health. Caring for a family member is no easy task, especially if their care needs are quite high and you don’t have extra help. Constantly putting their needs before yours may seem like the least you can do for a loved one, but it’s simply not true. In such an emotionally-involved and demanding role, you’re more likely to end up feeling frustrated, stressed out, and tired if you put your own needs on the backburner. This built-up overload of negative emotions associated with senior caregiving is otherwise known as “caregiver burnout.”

Practicing self-care will not only help you to better address your needs, but will also help you manage your role more effectively – no caregiver guilt needed.

How to form good self-care habits that last

It’s often said that it takes around 21 days to form a habit – whether it’s good or bad. The reality is that it can take a lot longer. Now, some studies have shown that it can take between 18-254 days for a habit to become established! But don’t lose faith – the timeline for your habit to form depends on factors such as your personal feelings about the activity and how dramatic the change will be from your usual routine. It’s one thing to try to drink more water each day; it’s entirely different if you want to train for an olympic marathon. Here are some valuable tips to make a healthy habit a lasting hobby.

#1 – Find out what self-care means for you

Take some time to work out what you need and how you can give this to yourself. Everyone’s self-care looks different, and while some people are energized by yoga, a run, or going for a hike, others feel refreshed by reading a good book, enjoying an evening with friends, or watching a movie. The trick to forming a good habit you’ll stick to is finding something you love to do. The positive association with the activity is often enough motivation to keep at it!

#2 – Embrace variety in your self-care plan

People are complicated – we love the security of routine, and yet we yearn to break out and do something new once in a while. So, what does this mean in terms of self-care? Don’t let your self-care get boring! Meditate one day, make yourself a fresh fruity smoothie another day, and go for a walk with a friend when the opportunity comes up. If you like being more focused, try to broadly define your constant self-care goals and then work in some variety when it allows. 

For example, if eating healthier is part of your self-care plan, try planning a different meal every night and have a healthy food delivery option ready for those nights you’re just too tired to get off the couch. If you want to prioritize physical fitness, get a trainer one day, walk the dog the next, and then do a yoga class the day after to shake things up.

#3 – Go easy on yourself if things don’t go according to plan

Have you ever committed to a healthy diet and then let all your hard work fly out the window because you just had to have that chocolate ice cream? We’ve all been there and It’s time to change your harsh mindset! Self-care is a journey, not a narrow goal, so don’t overdo it on the rules. Don’t punish yourself for skipping a day of exercise and sitting on the couch binging a series instead. Remind yourself that tomorrow is a new day and get back into your routine then. 

It’s all about restoring your energy and being kind to yourself, without punishments. You’d want that for anyone you love, so it’s time to treat yourself the same way!

Create time for self-care with help from home health aides in New Jersey

United Methodist Communities HomeWorks is a leading senior care organization specializing in at-home care for seniors in New Jersey. In addition to assisting with daily tasks, errands, and light housekeeping, our home health aides are fully trained in skilled nursing care services like dressing medical wounds, medication management, and health monitoring.

If you would like to use our respite care services or find out more about full-time in-home senior care in NJ, contact us today. We have home health aides all over New Jersey that can deliver the exceptional care and companionship that your loved one truly deserves. 

To learn more about in-home senior care services in NJ, please visit our website at:

https://umcommunities.org/homeworks/home-health-aide-services/ 

 

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