Wednesday, 22 February 2017

WINTER CAREGIVER ACHES AND PAINS

I live where the temperature can sometimes dip down to sub-zero numbers. Snow and slush make pushing our son in his wheelchair difficult and my Mom needs support to navigate icy pavement with her walker. Winter is hard on caregivers, that's for sure. If your back is aching these days, read on to feel better! 


Winter Caregiver Aches and Pains
Cold, winter days seem to exacerbate the job of caregiving at times - it takes longer to get our loved ones out for appointments because we have to spend a few extra minutes bundling them up and warming up the car. It’s harder to get out and feel the sunshine on your face because of cold or inclement weather. And we all know caregiving doesn’t take a break for allergies, colds or flu. If you’re feeling the caregiver aches and pains this season, seek relief with these helpful tips and ideas:

  1. Exercise: Power through winter with short spurts of exercise during the day that help your body stay strong, maintain a healthy weight, and produce more endorphins (which make you feel positive and enhances your body’s immune response). Take short brisk walks while your loved one is napping, turn up your favorite song and dance with your loved one, or try yoga in your home (you can find yoga lessons and videos on Netflix, Youtube and other streaming services).

    Colder temperatures commonly cause stiffness and pain to joints and muscles as well. Incorporating daily care routines, including 15 to 20 minutes of exercise each day, can help address inflammation and soreness due to both cold winter weather and caregiving tasks like lifting and moving your loved one.

  1. Splurge on yourself: Don’t go winter wild, but splurge a little on that cozy sweater you have been eyeing or that gourmet hot cocoa you have been wanting to try. Your happiness translates into the happiness of the person you care for, and a special treat can always brighten a dark winter day.

  1. Prevent colds: Aches and pains go hand in hand with winter illnesses - from the acute soreness due to joint inflammation associated with the flu, to sinus pain from seasonal allergies. Caregivers know that their health is a huge priority for maintaining the health of the loved one they care for. Fight back during cold and flu season by:
    1. Regularly disinfecting commonly touched surfaces in the house like railings, phones and door handles
    2. Avoiding large crowds, and especially children with known flu or illness in their classroom
    3. Keeping boxes of tissues and hand sanitizer around the home
    4. Boosting immunity by incorporating healthy winter vegetables into your diet including dark leafy greens rich in iron and Vitamin A, and root vegetables like turnips and parsnips packed with Vitamin C

  1. Talk to others: Stress and anxiety are constant realities of caregiving, and can physically manifest themselves as pain in your body - from tense back muscles to headaches and more. It’s important to address your own health and wellness and alleviate feelings of stress and tension to keep you in top caregiving form. Speaking with others, be it your spouse, family, friends, and even the person you care for, is a great way to express frustrations and vent - and simply saying it out loud can oftentimes lift the burden of guilt associated with having feelings of frustration or anger. Join a community of caregivers to talk and share with including the Caregiver’s Living Room on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/donnathomsonauthor) or other caregiving social networks like The Caregiver Space Community.

Victor Hugo once wrote, “Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.” Don’t forget to find the little things in caregiving that bring a smile to you and your loved one. The aches and pains of winter will give way to the sunny days of spring soon enough, and relief can sometimes come in something as simple as a laugh.

Jessica Hegg is the content manager at ViveHealth.com. Interested in all things related to living a healthy lifestyle she works to share valuable information aimed at overcoming obstacles and improving the quality of life for others.

THANK YOU FOR THIS GUEST POST, JESSICA!
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