Finding Time to Take a Break
Family caregiving can seem like a 24/7 commitment. At times, it may feel like there is no way you could take a break. After all, you are balancing caring for a loved one, work, a family, and other aspects of your life. We are here to encourage you to take breaks! Taking breaks is an important aspect of any kind of stressful activity. For example, you see students take breaks from studying because it helps their brains organize and store information more efficiently. Or consider weightlifters who take breaks in between their workout sets—there’s no ways they can continue doing one strenuous weightlifting exercise for an hour straight. So, like the student and the bodybuilder, caregivers need to take breaks to help manage stress and prevent “caregiver burnout.” Below, we will list some tips that can offer suggestions for kinds of breaks you can take. Each break you take is meant to be restorative and rejuvenating, so you can be the best caregiver you can be.
- Go out in nature: Take a 30-minute walk outside at your favorite park, around the neighborhood, or at nature trail. Research shows that spending time outdoors can have beneficial impacts on your psychological and physical health.
- Relax your body: This can be done many ways. Some people find that their body relaxes in a warm bath, after a gym session, or with meditation. You have to find what works best for you. Many times, people under stress tense muscles around their bodies, especially in the neck area. To relax these areas, concentrate on contracting those muscles, take a deep breath, and upon breathing out, relax those muscles. Try to do this systematically with all of the big muscles around your body, like your back muscles, your shoulder muscles, and your leg muscles. This exercise will help you focus on deep breathing and relaxation.
- Listen to your favorite music: Music has the power to affect you deeply. It can evoke anger, sadness, bliss, and contemplation. Similarly, music can even help you relax. There is no universal category of “relaxing music.” This depends on person to person. So, if there is a musician(s) that you love, set aside time to put them on your stereo and relax!
- Sleep! As ElderCare commonly advises, you must make time for 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Sleep not only helps you manage stress, it can give you the energy needed to tackle challenges. Additionally, take 30 minutes out of your day to recline if you are feeling overwhelmed. Sit on the couch, elevate your legs, and just rest. This will be a perfect time to do some deep breathing.
- Write down your thoughts: Sometimes you can relieve a lot of stress through cathartic activities like writing. Writing can help you express emotions you are having trouble processing, or to help put thoughts down on paper so you can compartmentalize things better. Writing is a very effective way to relieve stress.
If you have more questions, please call ElderCare at Home at 888-285-0093 or visit our website!