5 Foods to Fight Caregiver Fatigue
If you are a caregiver for an aging friend or loved one, fatigue may be one of the battles you fight. Many people try to compensate for too much stress and too little sleep by loading up on sugary foods or caffeinated beverages. Unfortunately, both can end up making you feel worse in the long run. Instead, fight caregiver fatigue with these 5 tips:
- Eat your breakfast. We’ve all heard the statistics that say it is the most important meal of the day. That is especially true for busy caregivers. Start your day with lean protein to help you fuel up for the day. Eating breakfast also helps you avoid overindulging in less healthy foods later in the day.
- Choose your carbs wisely. Studies have shown that when we are tired and stressed, the majority of us reach for refined carbs such as candy, cake, cookies and other such goodies. They can provide a quick burst of energy, but it is usually short lived and is almost always followed by a significant crash. Instead, choose unrefined carbs that are also rich in fiber. They will stay with you longer. Oatmeal, blueberries, kale, spinach and tangerines are better choices.
- Watch your caffeine intake. Energy drinks, caffeine bars and too much coffee can create a bad sleep-wake cycle for caregivers. Too much of it, especially later in the day, can make it difficult to sleep at night. That leads to greater fatigue the next day which only encourages the use of more caffeine to make it through the day. One or two cups of coffee each day is fine. More than that should be avoided.
- Pump up your protein. Combining lean proteins with healthy carbs can keep your energy level higher longer. When the two join forces in your blood stream they can slow the rate that sugar is absorbed in your body. That helps you avoid the post-carb crash. Healthy lean proteins can include almond butter, chicken, turkey, low-fat cheese, and Greek yogurt.
- Eat small meals more frequently. This is a favorite tip nutritionists like to share with their clients. Small meals eaten throughout the day can help keep you from getting too hungry and overeating or indulging in too many of the wrong foods later. Keep healthy snacks, like nuts and low-fat cheese sticks, on hand to make things easier.
Caregivers who follow these five tips should feel more energized and less fatigued. That can help you better juggle all of the responsibilities your role of caring for an aging loved one requires.