Contributed by Nora Stasio
Caregiving is not easy. When you spend your life engrossed in the well-being of another person, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and anxious. We are here to remind you that your physical health and emotional well-being are just as important as your loved ones. If you don’t allow yourself the chance to recover from the daily grind, you are setting yourself up to crash and burn. If you, caregiver, have an emotional/mental/physical breakdown, how can you possibly care for your loved ones?
Here are 7 methods that relieve anxiety and stress work for caregivers, so try them when you need some peace of mind.
Take Some “Me” Time
If you spend the majority of your day caring for others, you must must MUST create some personal time for yourself, even if it’s only half an hour. Maybe when your loved one is watching TV, taking a nap, or after they go to bed. Read a book, complete a sudoku, or go for a walk. Do anything that makes you feel good. But do it alone, so you that no one can interrupt while you reflect on your day.
Move Your Body
Still don’t know what to do with your “me” time? Go out for a run. Put on an aerobics video. Do some yoga. Break out into dance. Studies show that those who take the time to incorporate some physical activity into their day have lower levels of stress overall. Walking is the easiest, running is healthier, yoga can even renew your spirit. Whatever suits you best.
If you can get your hands on some all-natural essential oils and a plug-in room diffuser, you’ll have an effortless way to improve your day. Floral scents like lavender and jasmine have been shown to have a soothing effect on the nervous system. Lemon and rosemary are known to enhance mood and increase cognitive performance. Sweet orange and sandalwood can help to dispel anxiety.
I myself have a whole collection of essential oils. Sometimes all I need to do is quickly inhale some lavender and I feel instantly calm, even after a perfectly frantic day. You really should give it a try!
It’s a little known fact, but the tones, sounds, and frequencies we listen to have strong, measurable effects on our bodies. You know how there are certain songs that just make you feel a certain way, no matter when or where you hear them? In many cases, there is a biological explanation for this.
Experts have been pinpointing which frequencies cause us to feel certain emotions. Open up Youtube and do a search for “Sound Therapy,” “Calming Music,” “Isochronic Tones – Stress Relief” or “Binaural Beats – Relaxation.” You can listen to these tracks during your “me” time while reading or meditating. If there’s no objection, put them on while you’re with your patient. After about 10 minutes, you might be surprised at how peaceful you both feel.
This one should be a given. Of course, if you don’t have the time or resources for the occasional massage, be sure to research ‘acupressure points.’ There are ways you can release the tension inside your nervous system by simply applying pressure to sensitive areas of the body. More often than not, you will experience instant relief if done properly.
You could also invest in a handheld electronic percussive massager. You can use this heavenly little device on any area of the body that’s feeling the anxiety and stress.
Let It Go
It’s more than just a song! One of the best ways to recover from pent up anxiety and stress is to actually tell your body to let go of it. An accumulation of negative emotions inside the body is considered by many to be a hidden cause of chronic disease.
Emotional Freedom Technique is a beautiful method for releasing all that nastiness. The idea behind this practice is to face your pain and anxieties head-on and accept them. Only then can you let these negative feelings go. If you choose to bury your feelings, they will come back to haunt you later in life by taking both an emotional and physical toll.
There are also ways to do this kind of therapy through meditation, prayer, and journaling.
Talk It Out
Another great way to release built up anxiety and stress is to talk about your feelings with someone. Call or meet up with a friend, a loved one, a counselor – preferably someone besides your loved one. You need to be able to express what you’ve been feeling as purely and bluntly as possible.
Sometimes it can be hard to find someone who’s willing to listen to you every time you need to vent. If you know someone who is a caregiver, it is important to help them find an outlet for stress and anxiety. Sometimes the best help you can offer a caregiver is simply an unbiased ear to listen.