4 Ways to Relieve Stress as a Family Caregiver
By: Connor Kunz | Resources

When you're the primary caregiver for a loved one, finding time for a little rest and relaxation can be a challenging task. You give so much of your time and energy to helping others, when do you have time for yourself? Taking the time to schedule in some “me time” is not only beneficial to you, but also to those in your care. When you don’t take the time to rest, relax, and recharge it takes a toll on your emotional and physical health. Stress levels begin to rise, the beginnings of caregiver burnout start to appear, and you find yourself losing motivation. Here are few ways to relieve stress and keep yourself refreshed and ready for your those who need your care.

Make Sleep a Priority

As you grow older, sleep becomes just as necessary as when you were a teenager. Research shows that Americans would be happier and healthier if they got 60 to 90 minutes more sleep every night. Without the proper amount of sleep, your body does not have time to store memories, rejuvenate muscles, and renew oxygen levels. Adults who get less than 8 hours of sleep are prone to feeling sluggish, lazy, and quick to anger. 21% of adults report feeling more stressed when they do not get enough sleep. Sleep lets your body regain strength and energy for the next day, so it is vital that you give your body the proper amount of time to sleep and recover.

Fit in Exercise Every Day

Exercise is one the easiest tasks to put off and one of the hardest to do. Exercise can be one the best ways to relieve stress and work off any anxiety or frustration from your day, but many times it is one of the last resources people go to for stress relief. Once you’re in the habit of exercising, try to incorporate it into your daily schedule. Finding time to exercise every day can be difficult, especially for caregivers, but it can be done. If you can’t find the time to go to the gym, grab a few free weights and work out from home or even do 30 minutes of yoga every morning. Exercise is extremely important to maintaining a healthy mental attitude, and it will help you give better care to your loved ones.

Stay Hydrated

All of our organs, including our brain, need water to function. Drinking water may seem like an easy to way reduce stress, and it is! When you don’t give your body the fluids it needs, you’re putting stress on it. Drinking water won’t make the money or work problems go away, but it will help you to feel healthier and stronger to confront daily challenges.

Use a Planner

A daily planner can be one of the best aids in reducing your stress levels. If you haven’t already incorporated a planner (or calendar) into your life, it would be wise to do so. Pick a day of the week (Sunday might be best) to sit down and plan out your week. Pencil in your work hours as well as personal time, exercise time, and family/friend time. Knowing what your week looks like before you get into it will help have a positive attitude for the week and help you adjust your expectations.

Stress not only affects our work life, but your family life as well. Take the time to know your stress triggers and which strategies work best for you to reduce the stress in your life. Many times the triggers can’t be helped, but how we handle the stress can be.

About the Author - Connor Kunz
Connor Kunz
A writer, communicator, and people enthusiast, Connor's lifelong affinity for words dates back to kindergarten, when he dictated rather odd stories about talking animals for his older siblings to write down and illustrate. Today, Connor is grateful for the opportunity to use his skills to advance services that improve lives. When he's not working, you can find Connor hiking in a national park with his wife. 
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