Caring for the carer—session five. Strength for caring Part two: keeping fit for caring and life, exercise, nutrition and relaxation.
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Strength for caring
Part two: keeping fit for caring and life, exercise, nutrition and relaxation
Disclaimer: This material is published by Queensland Health and Mater Misericordiae Health Services Brisbane Limited (Mater) with the intention of providing information of interest. It is not intended to be a substitute for specific professional or clinical advice. Information may contain or summarise the views of others, and not necessarily reflect the view of Queensland Health or Mater. Although Queensland Health and Mater endeavour to publish accurate information, there is no guarantee that this information is up-to-date, complete or correct, and it must not be relied upon without verification from an authoritative source. Queensland Health and Mater do not accept any liability incurred by use of or reliance on this information.
as the primary carer you will need energy and vitality to perform your additional duties
exercise, good nutrition and effective relaxation strategies are an important part of self care
caring for yourself is as important as caring for your friend or loved one with cancer.
Exercise has countless benefits:
reduces risk of cancers (up to 50 per cent)
improves mood and reduces stress levels
helps prevent chronic diseases such as type two diabetes, osteoporosis, stroke and heart diseases
helps maintain a healthy weight
strengthens heart and lungs
helps you sleep
improves self-esteem and increases confidence
strengthens your immune system.
walk or ride a bike for short trips or to your local shop
get up to change the TV channel instead of using the remote control
take the stairs instead of the lift
walk your children to school
park further away from your destination
participate in the housework or gardening
walk the dog. If you don’t have one, borrow the neighbour’s dog.
walk in the evening after dinner and watch less television
do exercise while you are watching TV such as stationary bike, treadmill or swiss ball exercise
get on or off public transport one stop further from home and walk the extra distance
do Tai Chi or flexibility exercises
use an exercise DVD at home
buy an exercise mat.
Exercising for 30 minutes a day, either in a row, or broken up, is beneficial to your health
start easy and progress slowly
set simple, realistic exercise goals
vary your routine if possible
plan around known interruptions.
Good nutrition is important for everyone!
Strengthens immune system and keeps you healthy, body, mind and soul
It will help you think clearly and cope better with the extra demands of caring
Gives you the extra energy you will need to perform extra duties as carer
A diet rich in a variety of plant-based foods.
2 to 3 fruits daily
4 to 5 vegetables daily
Choose wholegrain and unprocessed cereals.
Choose foods from the five food groups and avoid over eating and under eating
It is just as important for the carer to meet nutritional requirements
A sick carer is not an effective carer
3 meals a day with 2 healthy snacks and plenty of fluids is a step to meeting nutritional requirements
Keep regular meal patterns.
Eat small and frequent meals.
Never skip meals!
Have a range of pre-prepared or frozen meals.
Keep plenty of healthy snacks on hand for times when you are waiting around
2L a day keeps the doctor away!
Always carry a water bottle
If you don’t like plain water, flavour it by using:
Fruit ice cubes
Dash of cordial
Caffeinated beverages are counted, but need to be chased with a glass of water
Most of us have discovered some ways to relax and enjoy ourselves
However, the purpose of the session today is to introduce you to formal relaxation techniques that quickly and effectively trigger the “Relaxation Response”
If relaxation is practiced regularly, it can have lasting beneficial effects
The relaxation response creates a physical state of deep rest that changes the physical and emotional response to stress:
Decrease in heart rate
Decrease in blood pressure
Decrease in muscle tension
Decrease in rate of breathing
Decreased metabolic rate
Today you will have an experience of meditation, abdominal breathing and imagery
There are other techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation
Not everyone responds to the same techniques so try out various techniques and use the one that works best for you.
Abdominal breathing is also known as diaphragmatic breathing
Abdominal breathing can be practiced anywhere and at any time
By using abdominal breathing you will cope better with stressful or challenging situations
The more it is practiced, the more natural it will become
When breathing properly your abdomen will expand when you inhale and decrease when exhaling
Exercise, good nutrition and relaxation are wonderful ways to maximise your ability to cope from day to day when the demands of your life increase
Remember to look after yourself as the carer!