Caregivers Stress Relief, Part 1: Tips for Immediate Relief
If you care for another full-time, you can fall victim to stress – even if this is your paid work. Studies have linked “caregiver burnout” to increased risk for heart disease, among other health problems. Taking care of yourself is possibly the most important thing for yourself and for those who depend on you. Try some of the following outlets:
- One of the easiest ways to relieve stress is to laugh – recent medical research supports actual health benefits
- Find something funny on TV
- Search the internet for “humor about” and insert any of your special interests
- Pick up a book of jokes, funny essays (we love Dave Barry) or other humor that can be enjoyed over brief breaks
- Get together with a friend – or even call one for a quick pick-me-up chat.
- Listen to your favorite happy music: Fast-paced when you need energy, or slow-paced if you need to relax or sleep.
- Research shows that the following breathing technique switches your body from “fight-or-flight” to a relaxed, healthier state – in just minutes:
- Breathe through your nose, not your mouth.
- Don’t fill your chest – instead, draw air down into your lower abdomen.
- Keep your torso from slumping forward – leaning back into a recliner can help.
- Gradually slow your breathing.
- Accomplishing a small, doable task can do wonders for your mind.
- Try tidying a small, cluttered area – especially one that is constantly in your line of sight
- Put down your phone and put your laptop to sleep for a solid hour.
- Jumping for every call, text, or email literally trains your body to activate the fight-or-flight response for every interruption – which becomes toxic over time.
- If you can walk away from constantly checking updates, you’ll find lots of time to do more important, useful, or fulfilling things.
- If you are a parent, give your kids their own ring-tone, and put all other calls on vibrate
- Unless you are a 911 operator, all other messages can wait an hour.
- Enjoy not jumping for the constant ringing!
Be sure to read our next newsletter for “Caregivers and Stress, Part 2: Tips for Long-term Stress Relief.”