How to Help Reduce Stress and Anxiety: Tips for Caregivers
Being a family caregiver is a stressful job that requires a large amount of energy and devotion. All the responsibilities of caregiving, on top of the responsibilities of your personal life, can lead to severe stress and anxiety. This can severely impact your mental, physical, and emotional health, as well as impact your caregiving performance toward your loved one. In this blog, we want to go over some steps to follow to manage your stress levels. If you have the appropriate knowledge and tools to help manage stress, you can prevent burning out, feeling overly anxious, and breaking down.
Tips to Follow
Exercise as often as you can: Exercise is one of the best ways to help you and your body feel better. Exercise releases beneficial chemicals that can alter your mood. Exercise can also help you get better sleep. If you already have a desired plan of exercise, try to make it a consistent part of your schedule. Some suggestions for exercise routines include yoga, walking, running, and lifting weights. Remember to see a doctor before beginning any exercise routine.
Sleep: This is perhaps one of the most important things we can mention. Sleep is crucial for many functions of your body, including emotional and mental health, weight regulation, and cleansing toxins from your body. In order to get quality sleep, you must sleep at least 7-8 hours every night. Also, avoid watching TV and going on your smart phones about an hour before bed. Screens on these devices emit blue light that impact melatonin levels, negatively affecting sleep.
Laugh: Laughing is a great way to relieve stress. Of course, you can’t force yourself to laugh, but you can put yourself in situations that may increases the chances of you laughing. That means, try to spend time with friends you love, go see a funny movie, or read a funny book. Whatever you think is fun and funny!
Breathe: Sometimes when we are stressed we forget to breathe consistently and slowly. This is common as stress and anxiety causes us to tense up, as well as increases our heart rate. When you feel overly stressed, take a few minutes to stop, slow down, and take deep breaths. To help you in this process, inhale for four seconds and exhale for four seconds. Try this for at least one minute and at most five minutes.
Don’t let anxiety convince you: Anxious thoughts tend to misrepresent reality. This means these thoughts might make you overly worried about a situation that may not deserve that amount of attention. Whenever you are feeling anxious, take a moment to ask yourself “Are these thoughts accurate?” Focus on what you actually know in any given situation and separate that from speculation. This may help put your anxious thoughts in perspective.
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