Caregiver Self-Care Tips: Water and Walking

Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) are the frontline caregivers to the people we serve in our programs. They make Indian Creek Foundation possible! Their job is a demanding one, so we are very serious about supporting healthy habits.

A positive work culture is one of the biggest elements of maintaining a healthy work environment. That’s why we make sure to have lots of smiles and laughter throughout our days. We encourage all of our staff, and the people we serve, to spread joy across the organization. There are some practical components to promoting good health as well. Two of the easiest ways to improve our own health are to stay hydrated with water and to get our daily steps in.

Drink Plenty of Water to Maintain Health

Our bodies are mostly made up of water, so it literally keeps us alive. Water is necessary for protecting our joints, producing healthy saliva in our mouths, keeping skin soft and elastic, regulating body temperature, digesting food, maintaining blood flow, replenishing our system, and more.

Though there is a lot of advice out there about exactly how much water a person should drink, there isn’t actually an official recommendation. Remember that drinking plain water is not the only way we get it into our system. The food we eat and other beverages we drink all deliver water as well. A diet with foods that are high in water content will require fewer glasses of plain water throughout the day.

In general, it’s a good habit to keep a reusable water bottle on hand. Drink as often as you are thirsty, and refill the bottle throughout the day. Try to choose water over beverages with a high sugar content, since they can be dehydrating. Fruit is a great way to increase water intake through food, or soup may be a tasty option in the colder months. Always drink water after exercise or during exposure to high temperatures to replenish what you lose in sweat.

Really, the best thing about water is that it is an extremely simple way to improve and maintain good health no matter your age or abilities. And besides that, it’s free!

Walking is a Simple and Effective Exercise

Speaking of simple and free ways to maintain good health, walking is pretty high up that list as well. Though there are a million exercise styles, programs, equipment systems, and memberships out there, walking is hard to beat in terms of ease and effectiveness.

All you need in order to take a healthy walk is about 20 minutes per day, shoes that support your feet and legs, and space to move. Walking is good for the cardiovascular system, meaning it promotes blood flow to all the organs. This helps to prevent or minimize the complications of chronic diseases. It’s also good for reducing stress and improving emotional/mental health. It helps people lose body fat and maintain a healthy weight while strengthening muscles and bones.

Walking for exercise might not ever help you achieve six-pack abs or bulging biceps, but it can definitely help you feel great in your own skin while increasing your energy levels. Walking outside will boost the health benefits a little due to the fresh air and small muscle adjustments on varying terrain. But if the weather or time doesn’t allow for outdoor walking, get your steps indoors instead. If you can add some stairs into the routine, that’s even better.

A 20-minute walk at a brisk pace provides the optimal benefits. But honestly, just getting to your feet and moving throughout the day will keep your blood flowing. Try parking farther away from doors, visiting a restroom (from all that water drinking!) across the building, or asking a friend or co-worker to join you on a break or lunchtime stroll. In no time at all, you’ll be enjoying those feel-good endorphins and more energy in your day.

Caregivers Who Care for Themselves Provide the Best Care to Others

As people who naturally care for others, we often put ourselves last. The plain truth, however, is that we need to be our healthiest selves in order to do our jobs well. Adding more water and walking to our day can result in great health benefits that make us better caregivers.

If you enjoy caring for others, have patience, a big heart, and love working with a great team of other caregivers, consider joining us at Indian Creek Foundation. We are hiring in many direct care positions, and our employees enjoy competitive pay, excellent benefits, career growth opportunities, and encouragement to practice self-care. Visit our Careers page to view all of our current openings.