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Make sure you take good care of yourself

Being a caregiver for a loved one can be rewarding, but it can also be very stressful. Along with cooking, filling prescriptions, and handling business affairs, you may also have to do double duty, taking care of your own children and job demands.

All can put eating well on the back burner. You may find yourself skipping meals, grabbing fast food on the run, or forgetting to buy healthy foods because you’re too worn out. All of this can lead to caregiver burnout. And you can’t successfully take care of anyone else if you’re not taking care of yourself.

Here are some ways to help manage caregiver stress — while keeping up your nutritional needs:

  • Set realistic goals. Break large tasks into smaller steps you can do one at a time, and then prioritize them. This can help you keep up your energy level during a busy day, without getting too overwhelmed.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. List the things you think you may need help with, and let the helper choose what he or she would like to do. For instance, you may need someone to pick up the groceries or cook for you occasionally to give yourself a break. Or look into your local caregiver support services.
  • Cook by the batch. Having nutritious leftovers in the fridge rather than cooking from scratch is a great time-saver. Examples include making a batch of veggie pasta, chicken casserole, or tuna salad.
  • Consider a nutritional liquid supplement such as Ensure®. It’s a great way to help you and your loved one get the nutrition you need. In fact, consider keeping a bottle on hand when you’re having a hectic day.

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