The stress of caring for an elderly or disabled adult family member or friend can bring many challenges that can wear on our mental, emotional and even physical health.
As a caregiver, it can feel challenging to stay healthy and manage your stress levels, especially during times of change, confusion or isolation. We have put together this list of Caregiver recommended tips to help you manage stress and anxiety.
Take some Time for Fresh Air
When you feel stressed or anxious, take a time-out for yourself: walk around outside for some fresh air and a bit of exercise, listen to the sounds around you, call a trusted friend for a chat, or listen to an inspiring podcast or audiobook that will let your mind take a break from the anxious feelings. A change of scenery and a different focus will help you recenter in your body and reconnect to yourself.
A breathing practice is a simple technique that can be useful whenever you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed. This is especially useful if you are unable to physically leave the space where you are getting stressed out.
There are many breath practices available for stress relief, but a simple, easy to remember practice is “4-7-8” breathing. Breathe in for a count of 4. Seal your lips and retain the breath for a count of 7. Then purse your lips and slowly let out the breath for a count of 8. Then breathe again for the count of 4. Hold for 7. Exhale for 8. Perform this breath cycle 5 times and enjoy the peaceful feelings wash over you. This practice works even better if you can take a comfortable seat and close your eyes.
Beyond breathing techniques, mediation has been proven to decrease stress and increase general wellbeing. Try out Calm or Headspace or any phone application that calls to you. Sitting in gentle guided meditation and releasing your thoughts is a mental-calming practice that has worked for many people over many thousands of years.
Reach Out to other Caregivers
Sometimes the best way to manage stress is to connect with someone who supports you and understands your role. A phone call with a trusted friend or mentor can be helpful, but as a caregiver, it’s often helpful to connect with other caregivers who understand what you’re experiencing. At CRCOC, we have support groups that offer a chance to connect with people who are working in a caregiver role and find solace in connecting with others who know the rewards and challenges of the role.
At CRCOC, we are available to caretakers like you to provide support and resources to the most valuable person in your care receiver’s life: YOU.