Take care of yourself — physically, spiritually, mentally, socially and financially. Your child will need you to be healthy as he or she recovers.
- Don’t try to do it all. Involve family members and friends in a “care-giving team.” And remember to take breaks.
- Make sure that you eat healthy foods. Often, feeding a child who has just had a heart procedure saps caregivers of energy, and they skip meals or grab food on the go. Try to eat fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains, to keep your body healthy and your energy level high. If possible, buy already cut fruits and vegetables to grab as a snack during the day. Yogurt and nuts are also quick, nutritious snacks.
- Exercise when possible. If you can get someone your trust to watch your child for 10 minutes, get out and take a quick walk. Exercise will help you stay healthy, happier and energized.
- Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to call your doctor(s) when something just doesn’t seem right with your child or when you have questions. That is what they are there for, and it is better to check things out than to miss something that should be addressed.
- Join a support network. Whether you get support from other parents and caregivers in person or online, make sure you share your feelings with others who have had similar experiences and can really understand what you are feeling.