It is common knowledge that caregiving can be stressful.  As caregivers we tend to be busy with so many things it is hard to make time for ourselves.  Even though our schedules may be filled up so full that we do not see how we can make time to relax, it is extremely important that we do.  Stress can be a factor in many health related issues such as heart disease, asthma, obesity, diabetes, headaches, depression, anxiety, gastrointestinal problems, Alzheimer’s disease, accelerated aging, and premature death.  The good news is that making time to de-stress and relax does not have to take a lot of time and is simple.  Here are some suggestions to help you relax: breathing techniques, visualization, massages, affirmations, journaling, aromatherapy, and exercise.

  • Breathing techniques that teach you to breathe deeply not only help reduce stress, but also can help lengthen your life and make you more healthy, happy, and productive.
  • Visualization is highly effective in reducing stress. As long as you are not driving, you can do this just about anywhere at any time.
  • We do not all have the time or money for a professional massage, but a little mini self-massage can do the trick as well. You can massage your hands or feet, use massage gadget for your back, or look into other forms of self-massage.
  • Affirmations that help focus on your coping abilities when used in crises will help you remain calm and relaxed.
  • Journaling helps provide prospective. This will help you relax, focus, and stay grounded.
  • Aromatherapy:  relaxing fragrances tend to produce slower frequency brain waves and have antidepressant properties when you smell them. This will help you deal better with stress.
  • When you are stressed, your muscles tighten. A simple walk will improve your circulation. Stretching exercises will loosen muscles and help encourage deep breathing.

-by Nicole Bruno, Community Educator