Are you looking after yourself? Yes, I’m talking to you.

As a coordinator or worker in the aged care industry, there are many people relying on you and I know from experience that we sometimes lose sight of our personal health and wellbeing as we deal with the stress of the job and life in general.

It's easy to get tied up with the workload and forget to take care of your own health and welfareSo how are you managing your personal health and wellbeing?

I’m talking about:
– Getting enough sleep
– Exercising regularly
– Eating well
– Giving up smoking
– Keeping your alcohol intake low
– Managing your stress levels

How many of those things do you do in a week? Let’s look at each of them in more detail and how you might improve if necessary.

Sleep

Are you sleeping for 7 – 8 hours a night? If not, your physical and mental health can be adversely affected. Now I know that some people can function on less, but I am an early-to-bed, early-to-rise person. As long as I get a good few hours in before midnight I am right to go. You may be similar or you may be a night owl and prefer to hit the sack later in the evening. Whichever you are, consider how much sleep your body needs and try to accommodate it.

If you are finding falling asleep an effort try drinking herbal teas such as Rooibos or Chamomile, add a bag of lavender to your pillow or try some meditation to ease your mind towards sleep. Also, avoid using electronic gadgets such as iPads as the bright background light emitted may cause wakefulness.
Walking along a deserted beach can help the release stress that has built up over the day.

Exercise

I have to admit, this is where I don’t do so well. The experts recommend 30 minutes of aerobic activity five times each week. How are you doing?

If you are not reaching this target, what could you do to introduce change? Perhaps you could take a brisk morning walk a couple of days each week combined with exercising using one of those Apps off the AppStore. I found the 7-minute workout App quite easy to use on the road.

Eating

Oops, not doing too well on this one either lately! What about yourself? Are you eating lots of vegetables and fruit combined with a little meat and some grains? Not too many takeaways? Sometimes it is a blessing living on community – the takeaway shops are generally a long way away. If you want a pizza, you have to make it yourself!

Do your body a favour and stick to good plain cooking most of the time. Avoid too much sugar in your diet. This includes carbonated drinks (not a good idea in areas where you are also drinking bore water – kidney stones are not nice) and also those highly sugared milk drinks such as iced coffees.

Smoking

If you are a smoker the best thing you can do for your body is quit. The research shows that smoking reduces your life by around a decade – that’s ten years of your life you are throwing away, not to mention the years of chronic illness that go with smoking.

The good news is that once you quit smoking, you immediately start to see health benefits and these only get better as time goes by.

Alcohol

Alcohol misuse can be a problem for some people. If you are living out on a remote community, chances are that you are living on an alcohol-free area. If not, and you are finding you are regularly drinking (perhaps to help you relax after work) consider whether the quantity is excessive.

Stress

And what about that underlying issue that often leads us to unhealthy habits – stress.

We all face stress. It is sometimes what helps us perform better, but when stress is not dealt with or goes on for too long, it can cause physical harm to the body.

Eating well, exercising and getting a decent amount of sleep are all known to assist in managing stress. A walk along a beach or bush track can be a great way to both exercise and de-stress, or perhaps combine meditation and yoga for a low impact relaxation and stretching session.

Your personal health is important!

So, do yourself a favour, run through the above list and see if you need to make any changes to keep yourself in top shape and able to do your job well. You’ll thank yourself for it later!

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Carrie

Carrie is a passionate advocate for the provision of quality, community based, aged care.
In her spare time, while she ages gracefully, she helps out with kids theatre, rides an electric bike and drags her husband off to explore the world as often as possible.

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