Elderly Care: Stress Busters for the Super-CaregiverPosted on May 12, 2014 by ElderCare Resources in Blog, Caregiver Education, Education, Home Care Non-Medical, Respite Care
Worn out and tired is a common mantra of caregivers everywhere. Busyness of daily life and the task of caring for others leaves little time for the caregiver to ensure they are taking care of their own needs. It’s important to carve out time for yourself—even though there may not seem like enough hours in the day eke out some moments of respite.
What aspects of self-care can we add to our day to ease stress and produce some relaxation? Here are some ideas that are relatively quick and low-cost:
• Take time for yourself: If you can find some respite care, go ahead and enjoy a day out. Some people enjoy fishing for relaxation, some like window shopping, and others meet friends for a cup of coffee—take advantage of respite care to get your own needs taken care of.
• Exercise or take a walk: A quick (or long if you are lucky!) stroll around the block or neighborhood can provide some quiet time—you might even be able to create a meditative moment with your brief walk. Go at your own pace; if a fast clip works for your fitness level then go ahead and pick up the pace; if a slower stroll is more up your alley, enjoy the stroll!
• Write in a journal: Stress relief through writing? Sure thing! It is meditative and provides a moment of self-reflection. While you are at it, try a gratitude journal. Studies have shown that keeping a gratitude journal increases happiness. Write down three things that you are grateful for that happened today; this technique keeps the channels open for positive thinking. I actually love the gratitude journal; I have to admit that I often forget to write items down, but before I drift off to sleep I think about three things that happened during the day that I am grateful for and it sure helps boost my mood.
• Do you have a relaxing ritual? I’m a daily tea drinker but when I’m super-stressed, I like to get my mom’s old tea set out and brew a nice cup. This idea can morph into any number of things—maybe it’s looking at an old photo album, a meaningful coin collection or taking a hot bath—I just happen to have happy memories of the tea set, and since I enjoy the warm beverage, it’s a really relaxing ritual for me.
• Aroma Therapy: Hey, give it a whirl! Some say it really helps—essential oils can be found at grocery stores or health food stores. I use little pads that plug into the wall when I’m working, but you can also use a tiny basin placed in a bedroom for calming sleep, or anywhere in the house you see fit.
• Take a nap (my personal favorite): If you can find time in the day for a quick recharge and it doesn’t mess with your nightly sleep, then go for it. Some people find that napping interrupts nightly sleep patterns and if you are one of these people, this option may not be for you. Others are nappers and can get a re-charge for their day through a short bout of shut-eye. Even the University of Michigan boasts a student napping club (how’s that for one of the top Universities in the U.S.?).
Sprinkle some of these stress reducing ideas throughout the day to create a more relaxed environment despite the hectic pace of caregiving-life. The main point is to find what works for you in the amount of time you can create for yourself—your own health is important, so be sure to take care of it.
Linda Chamberlain is the owner, director of Client Services Ensemble of Care, Inc.