Being a caregiver to an aging relative can be very stressful. Chronic stress can be harmful to your health, so it’s important for caregivers to find ways to relax during their busy days. Below are 5 techniques that can help you to relax.
1: Have a Plan
One of the things that can be stressful for caregivers is a feeling of not having control of a situation. One way to avoid that is to plan ahead for situations that could be difficult. Think through what could happen and determine what you’ll do ahead of time. For example, think to yourself, “If this happens, I’ll do this.” When you have a plan, you can be more confident that you can deal with whatever comes up.
2: Focus on Breathing
Focusing on your breathing can provide some instant stress relief. Since it can be done anywhere, it can be one of the best tools a caregiver has. To do it, take deep breaths and let outside distractions and thoughts fall away. Focus only on your breathing, perhaps counting to yourself as you breath in and out.
3: Guided Imagery
Guided imagery is a little like meditation. It involves picturing a place that makes you feel relaxed and happy. Imagine yourself there. You may wish to play soothing music while you do this or perhaps silence will work better for you. You can even find apps for guided imagery. While visualizing your “happy place,” use all your senses:
- Sight: Think about how the place looks. Imagine your surroundings in detail.
- Hearing: What are the sounds around you? If you are outside, do you hear bird song, waves, the wind, etc.?
- Smell: What can you smell? The ocean air? Flowers? Cookies baking?
- Touch: Can you feel a breeze or the warmth radiating from a fire?
- Taste: Are you sipping a cup of tea or can you taste the salt in the ocean air?
Exercise is a good way to burn off stress and it helps to keep your body healthy. Activities that involve repetitive and rhythmic motions can be relaxing. Some examples of rhythmic exercise include:
- Walking or running.
5: Remember Positives
When things aren’t going well and you’re feeling stressed, it can be easy to get stuck on negative thoughts. Caregivers may even find themselves practicing negative self-talk, which means they are chastising themselves in their thoughts. To avoid this, it can be helpful to make a list of the positive things in your life and the aspects of caregiving that you enjoy, such as spending extra time with your aging relative. When you’re feeling stressed, pull out the list and remind yourself of all the positive things you have going for you.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Caregiver Services in the Overland Park KS area, please contact the caring staff at Elder Care of Kansas City, today. Proudly serving Jackson, Clay, Platte and Cass Counties in Missouri as well as Johnson and Wyandotte Counties in Kansas for over 30 years. Call us at 816-333-3322.
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