There’s no doubt in your mind that caregiving is a rewarding experience, but you also know that you need to find effective ways to curb the stress. Just as with any other type of life experience, some days are certainly better than others. When you feel the stress start to creep up, it’s important to have outlets to turn to. Not only can these avenues de-stress your mind and body, but also they allow you to keep performing your role without feeling cheated, bitter or overworked.
Here are some great stress busters for family caregivers.
The great thing about meditation is that it can be done anytime you want, and it doesn’t require any special materials. Studies have shown that meditation relieves depression symptoms and increases tolerance levels. Twelve minutes of meditation each day is what experts recommend doing, so set aside time that you can stick to, such as when first waking up or before going to bed.
Yes, your freezer is your friend. Set aside a day each week or month where you can make bulk meals and freeze them for later. There are also great recipes where you can pre-make crock pot meals and place all the ingredients in one bag, no cooking required. Thaw out the ingredients, place them in your crock pot, and voila, you have a healthy meal. You need to keep your energy and immunity up, so eating healthy is important.
Journaling is an amazing opportunity to let out your feelings without the fear of being judged. There are online journals that you may feel more comfortable with, but consider taking your laptop with you outdoors where you can really concentrate on your feelings and connect with the environment. Journaling relieves stress, helps you come to terms with your inner struggles and documents progress.
Breathing techniques are so very important. They allow us to get through moments of stress and also keep our emotions in control. When you’re feeling stressed, especially when you’re with your loved one, remove yourself from the room and take a few minutes to focus on your breathing. Breathing goes hand-in-hand with meditation, so you will learn to master both skills over time.
Also, when you leave caregiving, it’s important not to take your stress home with you. Letting out a few deep breaths is like saying, “I’m going home to focus on other things and leaving the stress behind.”