25 ways to Reduce Caregiver Stress
Caring for an aging parent can be stressful to say the least! Stress will wear you down making you less able to care for a loved one. It is imperative that you get a handle on your stress for your own health and for that of the one you are caring for.
Here are 25 Stress Relief Tips to get you started. ~ Kathryn Watson
- Listen to your favorite tunes In a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center, people who listened to their favorite tunes found their blood vessels actually opened wider, when doctors took image of their circulation. Change it up though, listening to the same one over and over will not have the same effect.
- Remember- It is not about you!
Just because someone behaves poorly, it is never about you. It is their own fears and insecurites that cause them to behave this way. you just happen to be in their way.
- Hang upside down- In a yoga class that is. :-) Yoga has long been known to help you de-stress. The effect will last long after the class as you continue to practice this ancient technique you will find yourself becoming more aware of the positions you are sitting and standing in that create more stress in your body. By making simple adjustments you will help to reduce stress.
- Faith -- Persons who have a regular Meditation or Spiritual Practice often develop enormous faith that difficulties can be worked through successfully. The potential stress can be reduced many-fold through these types of practices. While it doesn't directly effect the financial situation, these practices can improve health, reduce stress, make it easier to see worthwhile opportunities and make it easier to change habits that may, in some cases, contribute to financial difficulties and tension in your body.
- Eat Pistachios- Pistachios are a good source of polyphenol antioxidants, which protect against oxidative stress and inflammation.
- Tap...tap.tap..tap,tap,tap. If you haven't tried tapping yet you need to find out what it is all about. EFT which stands for Emotional Freedom Technique is a technique where you tap different acupressure points to shift your mood or change your behaviour. Find out more here
- Stop and smell the roses -- and a whole lot of other flowers, plants, and fruits to zap away your stress. Roses, as well as, lavender, basil, orange, grape, mango, and lemon -- all contain a special compound which apparently reduces anxiety.
Scientists in Japan are now reporting the first scientific evidence that inhaling certain fragrances alter gene activity and blood chemistry in ways that can reduce stress levels. Since ancient times, people have inhaled the scent of certain plants to help reduce stress, fight inflammation and depression, and induce sleep.
Take a minute and watch this video, If you can get up and dance with these guys :-) You will be amazed at the fun you will have with this simple stress reliever.
- Laugh: Keep a laughter folder to put your funnies that people send you into. When you are having a rough day open the folder and laugh your troubles away! Laughter is like a massage for your insides.
- Share the Load. Even though we may sometimes feel we're the only ones capable of doing something, it's usually not the case. Get your partner or other family members to help you with all your personal/family responsibilities. Taking care of the household, children, or parents should not be the responsibility of just one person.
- Indulge in dark chocolate: Dark Chocolate contains PEA, a natural calming molecule and theobromine, a mild caffine like stimulate. I personally think this is a great way to deal with stress! :-)
- Rethink your cleaning standards. An unmade bed or sink of dirty dishes isn't the end of the world and certainly won't impact the quality of your life. Do what needs to be done and let the rest go. If you can afford it, pay someone else to clean your house.
- Take Charge. Set Priorities. Sometimes it's easier for us to allow ourselves to feel overwhelmed rather than taking charge and developing a prioritized list of things that need to get done. You need to buck the trend. Develop a list. Set priorities. And then enjoy the satisfaction of crossing things off your list.
- Use Your Eyes: Put the tips of your ring and thumb together, and place the index and middle fingers of each hand on your forehead, one inch above your eyes. Now think about a stressful event you can't seem to banish, and move your eyes in a circle, looking up, right, down and left. Now switch directions. It may feel silly at first but you will soon notice a calm come over you and you may even lower your blood pressure. A simple but effective way to overcome stress.
- Count Down: Count backward starting at 50, breathing in and out with each number. By keeping your mind focused on the numbers and your breathing you will find it had to stay stressed.These stress management tips will have you feeling great!
- Perform more acts of kindness: In 2005, Stanford University psychologist Sonya Lyubomirsky tested whether there was a connection between acts of kindness and a sense of personal fulfillment. She assigned students to do five weekly "random acts of kindness" of their choice, "anything from buying a Big Mac for a homeless person to helping a younger sibling do school work." Everyone reported greater happiness, and those who performed all five acts in one day were the happiest. Previous studies have found that altruistic people tend to be happy, but her study was the first to establish that good deeds actually cause an increase in well-being.
- Let them be right. Sometimes people just want to be right...so let them. Instead of arguing what you know will be and endless argument simply say " You know, you may be right about that" Then continue on to do whatever it was your way. After a while you will notice these people no longer telling you what to do and how to do it. Stress will be a thing of the past as relaxation takes hold. :-)
- Gaze at a picture of a smiling face. A recent study shows that by simply looking at a smiling face will lower your cortisol levels. Lower Cortisol= Less Stress!
- Play the awareness game. Notice something nice about everyone you meet today. She has a nice smile, he said thank you, etc. You will find that as you start noticing the positive in people you will be surrounded with positive people.
- Take a walk in nature. 10 or 15 minutes outside soaking up a little sun ( yes a little is good for you! It provides the much needed vitamin D), listening to the birds and letting go of your cares.
- Sit down with your cup-o-joe! A friend of mine just moved from Germany where she said coffee and tea is served in real mugs not styrofoam. It is naturally assumed that partrons will sit down and enjoy their beverage. Instead of rushing though your favorite coffee shop take a moment today to sit and enjoy your latte. Leave your cell phone in the car and spend ten minutes savoring your beverage with no distractions. Are you worth 10 minutes?
- Visit with a friend. You can visit in person or over the phone. "Just talking on the phone to a friend has the immediate effect of lowering your blood pressure and cortisol levels," says Teresa Seeman, PhD, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at UCLA.
- It's not about you! When people behave poorly we often take it personally but it rarely is about you. Simply say to yourself "This is not about me and really has nothing to do with me." Take a moment and just send good thoughts to this person. You will walk away from the situation knowing that you did all you could to help. This one thing will have stress rolling off your shoulders.
- You don't have to do everything yourself. Do what you do best and what you enjoy doing and find someone to help you with the rest. You will not only be helping yourself but by allowing someone else to do a job for you will be helping them also. More relaxation for you = less stress!
- Prepare your will or update it if you already have one. Not only will it save a lot of stress and heartache for your loved ones should anything happen to you but it will also give you peace of mind to know that you have taken care of things. You would be amazed how doing this one thing can free up your energy for creating more enjoyment in your life.
Ready for a planning and strategy session to get your stress under control? Contact Kathryn today!