Author: Tim Bodor
No one experiences stress quite the way family caregivers do. They have to be mentally “on call” 24/7, work long hours, and seldom get the breaks they truly need. It’s no surprise that this job is extremely stressful no matter how well a person copes.
April is Stress Awareness month. If you are a family caregiver, or want to help someone who does the bulk of the family care in your family, based on experience, here are 5 ways we recommend family caregivers relieve stress.
1. Go outside
One of the easiest and best ways to reduce stress is to go outside. Our ancestors spent much of their time outside, and our bodies still respond to the great outdoors. This response can be magnified if you go some place green, even if it is only the local park.
You don’t need to exercise or even walk to benefit from outdoor time. Even a few minutes on the back porch to compose yourself can help.
They say laughter is the best medicine, and laughing certainly can help reduce stress and improve your mood. Put on a comedy, or watch funny cat videos on YouTube—if it makes you laugh, you’ll be on the way to feeling better and reducing stress.
3. Eat Healthy
Healthy eating can help reduce your stress as well. Your body needs certain nutrients to feel its best, and it can’t do that if you’re just grabbing quick foods. If you are a family member concerned about the primary caretaker, and you’re not the caretaker itself, this is a real way you can help.
It’s not always easy to prepare a nutritious meal when you are always thinking about another person. Help your family member by bringing them that nutritious meal.
4. Get enough sleep
It’s hard to be in the right frame of mind if you aren’t getting enough sleep. Take your bedtime as seriously as you take your waking time. Set an alarm 2 hours before bedtime, so you can properly prepare for bed. Turn off all screens, and when it is time to sleep, don’t put it off.
5. Respite care
Another big way to help reduce stress is to take a break. If you are not the family caretaker but are looking for ways to help, offer to swap out with them so they can get the real rest they need. If that’s not possible, consider hiring a special caregiver to fill in for them.
Our experienced caregivers at Homewatch CareGivers of Loudoun is more than willing to help in this situation, and can offer a great deal of help here. We can swap out your family caretaker so your primary caretaker can get a real break, without the mental strain of worrying what they will come back to if they step away for just a few minutes.
Respite care is one of the best ways to help a stressed family caregiver. Feel free to contact us to find out what we can do.
Stress is a real concern, whether you are the person “in the trenches” or a family member who wants to help, take advantage of this month to help relieve the stress your family caregiver is under.