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As a home health aide, you need to take care of yourself to take care of others. Unfortunately, that wisdom can get muddled or lost in the home care space.

home health aide

Establish healthy self-care habits with the tips below.

Schedule Me Time

Most seniors do not live in nursing homes. In fact, only 3.6% do. Unfortunately, most seniors aging in place live alone, but more home health aides are stepping into the picture. With more Americans than ever before growing old and doing it at home, it is important for home care aides and those participating in home health care services to know how to provide the very best care. Surprisingly, providing the best care starts with you.

To be the best version of you, you need to schedule time for yourself. In other words, if you are a home health aide, set aside 30 minutes to an hour every day to relax. Do whatever makes you happy. Kick your feet up and enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning. Read a book. Watch Netflix. Just make sure to take that time to unwind.

Mind Your Health

It is the ultimate irony. Caregivers go out of their way to dutifully care for others’ physical health and end up neglecting their own. Harvard Medical School emphasizes the importance of caregivers staying active. Just 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity per day lowers blood pressure and cholesterol and boosts energy. If you do not have a full 30 minutes, even 10 or 15 minutes of exercise is beneficial. It is also important to eat a healthy diet, get adequate sleep, avoid smoking and drinking, and go in for a check-up regularly.

Practice Breathing Techniques or Mindfulness

Other tools in your arsenal include breathing techniques, meditation, and mindfulness. Meditation or breathing techniques help you relax and promote an overall sense of calm. Research shows it can pack many more benefits as well. According to a study in 2016, meditation promotes general well-being, gives you more energy, and helps improve memory and focus — all things that are great for you, your health, and your outlook when it comes to maintaining your overall well being as a home health aide.

Those looking for a less formal practice with many of the same benefits can simply opt for deep breathing or “4, 7, 8 breathing” (inhaling for four seconds, holding the breath for seven, and exhaling for eight).

Find Your Community

There are plenty of other caregivers out there in the home health aide field. You do not have to go it alone. Look for in-person support groups or if it fits your schedule better or better suits your tastes, go online to find other people acting in the same role. Social media, discussion forums, or even mobile apps are all great resources to find other people like you.

Taking care of someone else means taking care of you first. Even so, one-third of Americans fail to get enough sleep — and even that seemingly small misstep is drastically affecting our health. Prioritize your diet, exercise, mental health, and overall care — just like you would anyone else’s. Follow these tips and you will be ready to be the best version of you, every day.

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