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Care for caregivers

How you can support your health while caring for others

Caring for loved ones with a health condition can be difficult. It’s hard to see people you care about struggle with their health. It can also be hard your own health and wellbeing. To help you keep an eye out for your own health, here are some tips from Sharecare.

Take care of your mental health

care for caregiversTalking about your mental health with friends and family can help you cope with stress, but sometimes you need a little more support. An estimated 40 to 70% of caregivers show symptoms of depression, with up to half meeting the criteria for a diagnosis of major depression.

Here are the symptoms the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists as signs of depression:

  • Feeling sad or anxious often or all the time
  • Losing interest in activities that used to be fun
  • Feeling irritable‚ easily frustrated or restless
  • Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Waking up too early or sleeping too much
  • Eating more or less than usual or having no appetite
  • Experiencing aches, pains, headaches or stomach problems that do not improve with treatment
  • Having trouble concentrating, remembering details or making decisions
  • Feeling tired‚ even after sleeping well
  • Feeling guilty, worthless or helpless
  • Thinking about suicide or hurting yourself

If you start to notice any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor to see if you should be screened for depression and what care options are available. If you don’t have a doctor yet, use our Find Care tool to help you find one near you. Make sure you are logged in to see doctors in your network.

Get support

Your community may have services that offer caregiver support groups and services to help you connect with other caregivers. Talk to your doctor to see if seeing a behavioral health specialist is right for you. We have some tips that can help you find one who meets your needs. You may also want to check with your employer to see if you have counseling benefits.

Find some space to clear your head

Sometimes finding time to step away for a moment can help you lower your stress, prevent burnout and help you put things into perspective. Respite care is an option that can help you find a caregiver to fill in for you when you need a break. In-home respite care can be anything from simple companionship for your loved one to in-home nursing services. Short-term nursing homes can also be an option to help you care for your loved one while you're away for a few days.

Eat healthy and exercise

Taking care of your physical health can help you not only stay strong, but can help your mental wellbeing, which is important when caring for others. Exercise releases endorphins, which can help lower stress. Try to get between 30-60 minutes of exercise a day. Find an activity that you enjoy so you can stay motivated.

Eating a well-balanced diet may help lower anxiety. For a healthy diet, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that your meals be made up of four parts:

  1. Half of your plate should be fruits or veggies
  2. One-quarter of your plate should be whole grains
  3. One-quarter of your plate should be lean protein
  4. Have one to two servings (1/2 cup) of low-fat dairy a day, if you eat dairy products

Do stress-relieving activities

Find daily activities that you enjoy to help you let go of stress. Having hobbies or other habits can help you clear your head and focus on something that brings you joy.

Here are a few things you can try that can help you destress:

  • Meditation
  • Yoga or stretching
  • Deep breathing
  • Muscle relaxation techniques

Getting good sleep can also help you keep stress at bay and keep your mental health on track.

Want more healthy tips? Download Sharecare

Blue Cross of Idaho members have access to Sharecare, an app to help you eat better, lower your stress levels and be more active! To get the app, visit to create your Sharecare account, download the app and take the RealAge® Test. Do not download the Sharecare app directly from the App Store or Google Play.

Source: Sharecare

Disclaimer: This wellness program is administered by Sharecare, Inc., an independent company that provides health improvement management services to Blue Cross of Idaho members. Sharecare, Inc., does not provide Blue Cross of Idaho products or services and is solely responsible for the health improvement management services it provides.

Posted: July 13, 2022