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Overcoming Overeating for Caregivers

Being a caregiver can bring a lot of stress into your daily routine. As a caregiver, you have several people that are relying on you to take care of their loved one, which often translates as anxiety or stress for a caregiver. There are several ways that people choose to cope with their stress, many of which are healthy and encouraged, but every now and then a caregiver may cope with stress by overeating.

Food serves as comfort for some individuals and can be a coping mechanism. Although allowing yourself the occasional treat is healthy and key to a balanced diet, it is important to know when you are overeating and overindulging. By definition, overeating or overindulging means that you are eating more food than you need, and you are simply eating because it serves as comfort for you rather than for nutritional value. When you overeat, you are not eating because you are hungry, and you most likely do not stop eating when you are full. It is important to recognize the signs of overeating and understand when you are doing so.

When you are stressed or overwhelmed, it is important to find outlets to put your energy in rather than eating. Having a water bottle near you at all times can help you focus on drinking water when you would otherwise reach for a snack. Although it will take time to get used to the experience of replacing food with water, it will eventually become a habit for you. You will reap the benefits of an increased water intake and find another outlet or oral fixation for you during your times of stress.

If you overeat or overindulge after your shifts, try finding another outlet for your pent-up energy or anxiety. We suggest taking a walk and getting fresh air, especially after a long stressful day. The combination of fresh air and endorphins from exercise can increase your mood and your overall mental health. If you would rather work out in a gym or with a group, try exercise classes or join a gym where you can use your stress or anxiety for good! We love boxing, cycling and yoga!

During your time of stress or anxiety, it is important to recognize the signs of overeating and channel your energy to a healthier outlet. Whether that is cooking healthy meals, taking a walk or attending a yoga class, you can overcome your challenges. We encourage you to find an outlet that will work for you! Remember that each person is different and that it may take several times to find what works for you. If you are concerned with your overeating or overindulging due to stress, we encourage you to consult your doctor for more information.

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Why Meditation Can Help with Caregiver Stress

Being a caregiver is stressful: you have people depending on you to take care of their loved one, you work tirelessly to make sure that your client is happy, and you are doing so with a smile on your face. We know that at the end of the day, you may feel stressed and exhausted. After your shift ends and before you go to bed, it is important to wind down and focus on yourself for a few minutes. Meditation is a great way to unwind before the end of the day and put you in the right headspace to get a good night’s rest and wake up recharged and ready to take on another day!

Meditation can allow your cognitive functions to be improved and your stress to be vastly decreased. In addition, it can allow you to be one with your breath and keep yourself present in the moment. By focusing on your breath and the act of just ‘being’ you can give your mind a well-deserved break. Meditation can allow you to improve your overall mood, your mental health and your sleep patterns. By meditating for a few minutes after you get off work, you can put yourself in a mindset that will allow you to feel rejuvenated, recharged and rested.

The key to successful meditation is to allow yourself to be open to the possibility of letting go and just focusing on your breathing. It is helpful to have one central place that you feel comfortable meditating in. This could be on your bed, in the comfort of your living room or you may choose to create a space that is used exclusively for meditation. Find the environment that works for you and choose to commit to meditating at least every other day, if not for a few minutes each day.

Meditation does not have to be done at a retreat or in a professional studio. There are several apps and websites, such as Headspace, that allows you to meditate anywhere. By simply unplugging from the business and craziness of the real world, you make room in your heart and mind for relaxation and rejuvenation. We hope that you will take the time to try mediating the next time that you feel overwhelmed or stressed from work.

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