It's 4 am. Almost all the world in your time zone is asleep. Except you. The to do list that you have would make Santa shake his head. Somewhere in there, exercise, good nutrition and proper rest have to fit in there. Whether the person you care for is a young child, a senior, someone recovering from illness or surgery, the sense of feeling squeezed feels similar. Self care takes a lot of different forms at a time like this. In particular, here are some healthy eating and exercise tips that will keep you strong and healthy while you run your race. If you and the one you care for are up for some exercise, you can exercise together. This gives both of you something to talk about, Shared time distracts from the feeling that exercise is some bizarre self-inflicted punishment. Slow Cooker Meals minimize meal preparation time. Flavors develop over time. These rich experiences help deal with the reality that often budgets are stretched as well as time. Don't forget that your pets can participate. A cuddle with your pet has been proved to lower stress, and even add more quality years to your life. Pets also interact with everyone in the family. If your loved one is paying attention to the pet, it means you have a moment to focus on yourself. Speaking of pets, this one is mine. We are currently caring for a friend who is recovering from surgery. Engagement is a specialty. Atlas' creed is why run when you can bounce. Bouncing over the back of the couch. Bouncing from the floor to your lap. And one day, he bounced over our other big dog by at least six inches. Our house guest saw this and laughed for a solid two minutes. His pain was set aside. The smile from those who you serve is an enduring reward. You'll smile more as efficiency helps balance the load. I'm doing it here with Atlas bouncing around my heels. Please enjoy every goofy and fun minute as you extend your love and service. Yes! Have fun! Make meal preparation and planning a family affair. If you are not isolated while you work, there is more appreciation of the work you are doing. Ideas for meals and more hands to help are only a couple of the benefits. Know that you are not alone in caring for a loved one. Social time with other caregivers is so important. Whether it is a church group, a Mommies and Me outing or an official respite service, the perspective of others doing the same role that you are will breathe more life into your life.