By Donna Stephens Johnson LMBT, MMP, Owner Utopia Spa, guest columnist.

As the population ages, more caregiving is being provided by people who aren’t healthcare professionals. These informal caregivers provide 80 percent of long-term care in the United States. According to the AARP, 10,000 baby boomers are turning 65 every single day, and this is expected to continue into the 2030s. This means that nearly seven baby boomers are turning 65 every minute.

The demands of caregiving can be overwhelming, especially if you feel you’re in over your head or have little control over the situation. If the stress of caregiving is left unchecked, it can take a toll on your health, relationships, and state of mind—eventually leading to burnout. As a caregiver, you may be so focused on your loved one that you don’t realize that your own health and well-being are suffering. Stress wreaks havoc on your health compromising the immune system and making us more susceptible to illness and injury. High-stress levels can also lower energy levels, cause sleep problems and fatigue, induce headaches, and affect everything from your sex drive to your appetite. Left unchecked, rampant stress can raise your risk for a range of serious health issues, including heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

Regular visits to a massage therapist help moderate stress levels, maintaining your overall health. When you’re burned out, it’s tough to do anything, let alone look after someone else. That’s why taking care of yourself isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. There are plenty of things you can do to rein in the stress of caregiving and regain a sense of balance, joy, and hope in your life. Developing healthy habits is critical to aging well. Regular exercise protects the aging brain, and conversely, sleep deprivation can accelerate aging. And as you get older, good nutrition becomes increasingly important in how the body ages. Caring for a loved one strains even the most resilient people. If you’re a caregiver, take steps to preserve your own health and well-being.

~Find balance in your life. Since it’s easier to accept a difficult situation when there are other areas of your life that are rewarding, it’s important not to let caregiving take over your whole existence.

~ Give yourself a break. As a busy caregiver, leisure time may seem like an impossible luxury. But you owe it to yourself—as well as to the person you’re caring for—to carve it into your schedule. Give yourself permission to rest and to do things that you enjoy on a daily basis. You will be a better caregiver for it. If you’re not regularly taking time-off to de-stress and renew your energy, you’ll end up getting less done.

Many benefits of Massage aren’t an indulgence or occasional relaxing treat. Used regularly, they are helpful to your wellness, supporting and sustaining your optimum health. Not only is massage effective for stress relief, massage fights Alzheimer’s disease, relieves arthritis pain, allows for a better night’s sleep and strengthens mobility. It’s important to make time to do something that you enjoy and can look forward to. Therapeutic massage is a natural solution that helps the many ailments associated with the aging process.

Utopia Spa with Therapeutic Lifestyle Care services is a program which offers options for health and wellness services in massage to help lighten your load. Making time for yourself on a weekly or monthly basis for therapeutic massage can be just what your body needs to recharge your batteries. With our Door to Spa assisted ride service, there are options to arrange for pick-up service for you and/or your loved one. Our new addition for mobility service allows you to enjoy some quiet time at home alone or just to get away for a while. Taking on all of the responsibilities of caregiving without regular breaks is a surefire recipe for burnout. Don’t try to do it all alone; give your body the health care it deserves.

Call us today for a free consultation on our new Door to Spa service at 910-757-0415

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