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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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Caring for the carer session five

Caring for the carer—session five

Strength for caring

Part two: keeping fit for caring and life, exercise, nutrition and relaxation

Caring for the carer session five

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.

Be good to yourself
Be good to yourself

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 for health and well being
Exercise for health and well-being

Be good to yourself be active
Be good to yourself—be active!

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

Be good to yourself be active continued
Be good to yourself—be active! (continued)

helps maintain a healthy weight

strengthens heart and lungs

helps you sleep

improves self-esteem and increases confidence

strengthens your immune system.

Make activity part of your day
Make activity part of your day

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.

Make activity part of your day1
Make activity part of your day

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.

Thirty minutes a day
Thirty minutes a day

Exercising for 30 minutes a day, either in a row, or broken up, is beneficial to your health

Keep on track
Keep on track

start easy and progress slowly

set simple, realistic exercise goals

vary your routine if possible

plan around known interruptions.

Strength for caring part 2 food for feeling good
Strength for caring - part 2 Food for feeling good

Caring for you nutrition
Caring for you - Nutrition

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

What is good nutrition
What is good nutrition?

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

Nutritional requirements
Nutritional requirements

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

Meeting nutritional requirements
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

Lemon/lime juice

Dash of cordial

Caffeinated beverages are counted, but need to be chased with a glass of water

Strength for caring part 2 caring for you relaxation
Strength for caring – part 2Caring for you - Relaxation

Caring for you relaxation
Caring for you - Relaxation

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

Meditation and relaxation
Meditation and Relaxation

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

Relaxation techniques
Relaxation Techniques

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
Abdominal Breathing

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

Abdominal breathing2
Abdominal Breathing

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

Imagery for relaxation
Imagery for Relaxation

  • The mid-brain interprets the information as real when imagination is used to create an experience and that experience is felt

  • By using imagination during meditation, we can influence peace of mind, self esteem, confidence and improve our management of stress

Strength for caring
Strength for caring

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!