Being a family caregiver can take a lot of energy, alertness, flexibility, and patience. As a caregiver, the best care you can provide for those who depend on you comes from taking care of yourself.

You are not alone. According to the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and AARP “Caregiving in the U.S. 2020,” there are more than 53 million unpaid caregivers in the U.S.

Nutrition – eating healthy is paramount. If you forget to eat or wait until you are too busy or too tired, the possibility of eating something “less healthy” is more likely. If the body does not get the vitamins and minerals it needs to function, you feel full but your body feels lethargic. A person only has so much energy. Overtime you can crash because the body does not get the nutrients it needs to help you continue. Eating healthy helps you care for yourself and the person you are caring for.

Exercise – although the body is a machine that has the ability to heal, after a while, the body becomes physically and mentally exhausted. Although your schedule may not permit time to go to the gym, there are simple workouts that can be done in the home. Whatever exercise you choose, engage in some type of physical activity three to five times each week for 30 to 60 minutes.

Sleep – with the demands placed on some caregivers, going to bed can feel like a luxury. While it may not always be possible to adhere to a strict sleeping schedule, getting adequate rest is essential, especially when caring for someone around-the-clock. If a caregiver does not get the proper rest, he/she becomes completely drained and goes into a “fight or flight” mode.

Sometimes easier said than done, it’s important for a caregiver to recharge. Don’t feel guilty because you need time for yourself. A healthy snack, a five-minute walk outside, and a thirty-minute nap could be a life saver—for you and the person you are caring for.

We’ve all heard it said, “put your oxygen mask on first,” before you help others.”

Dr. Tran has his certification in acupuncture and is proficient in spinal rehabilitation and advanced chiropractic techniques. In addition to being a chiropractor specialist, Dr. Tran was the primary caregiver for his mother.

Join Dr. Tran virtually, every Friday at 8:00 AM EST, when he hosts a ZOOM meeting to discuss topics such as nutrient as well as offers virtual exercise classes.

To learn more, contact Dr. Tran at Optimal Chiro-Rehab Center-Chiropractor in Fairfax; VA; or call (703) 573-4773.

This article was written based on America’s Heroes Group “Military Families Matter” previous show, with co-host Keisha Jackson and Dr. Nguyen Tran, Chiropractor Specialist as a guest panelist under the subject of “Caregiver Self-Care.”

Keisha Jackson is a creative writer, executive music producer, and the founder of Encouraging Stories, an online, collaborative, multimedia hub that provides encouraging, entertaining, and educational for caregivers. After 22-years in the U.S. Air Force, Keisha signed to become an inspirational writer for a global women’s magazine. Shortly thereafter, her mother was diagnosed with Stage Four Inoperable Lung Cancer. Keisha resigned to become her primary caregiver. Caring for her mom, Keisha witnessed how music helps “heal the soul.” After her mom passed, Keisha attended a caregivers’ meetup and shared her “music” story. The group came alive eager to share their stories of how some form of art aided in caring physically, emotionally, or spiritually for their loved one…thus the impetus for Encouraging Stories.

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