If there were a formal job description for “family caregiver,” the descriptor “stress” would be included. While there are many enjoyable facets to caring for a loved one, stress inevitably creeps in. Over time, that stress can lead to physical and mental health challenges for a caregiver, and ultimately caregiver burnout. As a family caregiver, you must find ways of stress relief – daily. It will keep you healthier and in top form as a caregiver. Here are five tips for fitting stress relief into your day.
Free up time for stress relief by delegating
With all of the responsibilities you have as a caregiver – spouse, parent, friend, and everything else you do – there probably aren’t enough hours in the day for you to get everything done, including spending a few minutes each day on stress relief.
Getting help from others will free up some of your time and allow you to focus on yourself. For example, get a spouse, child, or friend to help fix meals, run errands, or help with housekeeping. Use that extra time you’ll have to relax and maintain your health.
Take an electronic time-out
Checking email and browsing through social media doesn’t relieve stress. On the contrary, in most cases, it gets our minds going in many different directions and creates stress.
Instead of pulling out your phone when you have those rare few minutes of downtime, close your eyes and sit quietly. If possible, stand outside or take a brief walk to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine.
Enjoy a good laugh
Not only is laughter “the best medicine, but” but it’s also a great way to relieve stress. Take a few minutes each day to chat with a friend, watch a funny YouTube video, or think of a funny memory. According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter not only can reduce your stress, but can also soothe tension, relieve pain, and improve your immune system.
Embrace nap time
Whether it be grabbing a quick 10-minute power nap in a chair after lunch or settling in with a blanket on the couch for 20-30 minutes, a nap will reduce your stress and improve your alertness and energy level.
Get comfortable, wear an eye mask to keep bright lights at bay, and set the alarm on your phone so you don’t oversleep. You’ll wake up feeling refreshed and revitalized, and the stress you were carrying before the nap will be much more manageable.
Focus on your breath
When you feel stress building in your body, take a few minutes to sit and focus on your breath. You can do this while your loved one is resting or when you’re in the car on your way home.
There are many simple breathing techniques you can use, like taking a slow, deep inhale through your nose, then exhaling slowly through your mouth. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how much lighter you’ll feel after doing this 3 to 4 times.
Our caregiving team at Seniors Prefer Homecare can also help you maintain a healthy stress level. We can lighten your load by assisting with daily tasks like meal preparation, personal care for your loved one (bathing, grooming, dressing), companion care, and respite care, which will give you the free time you need for important self-care.
Call us today at (866) 955-2376 to learn more about how we can help. We’re here for you and your family a few hours a day, around the clock, or anything in between.