If there were a formal job description for “family caregiver,” the word “stress” would be included. Even though there are many enjoyable aspects to caring for a senior loved one, stress inevitably sneaks up on you. Eventually, that stress can lead to health challenges for a caregiver, and ultimately caregiver burnout. As a family caregiver, it’s vital that you find ways to relieve stress every day. It will help you stay healthy and in tip-top shape to be the best caregiver you can be. Make these top five tips for fitting stress relief into your day a priority, and see how much you notice the difference.
With all your responsibilities as a caregiver, spouse, parent, friend, and employee, there often aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything you want or need to, including spending a few minutes each day on self-care and stress relief.
Asking for help from family, friends, or a professional caregiver will free up some of your time and let you focus on yourself. For example, have your spouse or a friend help by fixing meals occasionally, running errands, or helping with housekeeping. You can use that extra time to relax and stay healthy.
Take an electronic time-out
Checking your email and browsing social media sites doesn’t relieve stress. For many people, it does the opposite. Try to limit your time on email and social media as much as possible.
Instead of pulling out your phone when you have a few minutes of downtime, close your eyes and breathe while sitting quietly. If possible, step outside or take a short walk to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.
Enjoy a good laugh
Laughter is not only “the best medicine, but” it’s also a great stress reliever. Take a few minutes every day to chat with a friend, watch your favorite funny cat video on YouTube, or think of a humorous memory. According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter not only reduces stress, it can also soothe tension, relieve pain, and strengthen your immune system.
Enjoy a nap
Whether it be a quick 10-minute power nap or grabbing some shuteye on the couch for 20 minutes, napping will re-energize you and lower your stress level. You’ll wake up feeling refreshed, and the stress you were feeling before the nap will be much more manageable.
Focus on your breath
When you feel tension building, take a few moments to sit and focus on your breath. You can do this while your loved one is resting or when you arrive home.
There are many simple breathing techniques that are easy to do, like taking a slow, deep inhale through your nose, then slowly exhaling through your mouth. You’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel after doing this 3 to 4 times.
Our caregiving team at Senior1Care can also help you maintain a healthy stress level. We can lighten your load by helping with daily tasks like meal preparation, light housekeeping, running errands, and helping with personal care for your loved one.
If your loved one lives in the South Bend area, call us today to learn more about our services. We’re here for you and your family, whether it be for a few hours a day, around the clock, or anything in between.