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How to stress less

Woman relaxing and listening to music – tips on how to stress less as a caregiver

6 easy ways to reduce stress.

If you want to take care of your loved one properly, it’s important to look after yourself.  Watch for early signs of stress and eliminate them quickly to be a better caregiver.
 
Below are six different things you can do to lower your stress. Try to include them in your daily routine and watch the results.
1. Mindfulness

Being a caregiver is difficult. It can sap your energy, leaving you feeling stressed and anxious. Fortunately, there’s an effective, natural remedy: mindfulness.

 
Mindfulness happens when you experience each moment fully. You’re aware, or mindful, of what you’re doing and what’s happening around you. And you’re conscious of thoughts and feelings, but not distracted by them. You feel calm and unburdened.
 
You can train yourself to be mindful in just five to ten minutes per day. Basically, you sit quietly and pay attention to your breath as it goes in and out.
 
There are even mindfulness apps you can use on your smartphone to help train your mind. You’ll find your caregiving improves the more mindful you are.
 
Find out more about the apps, and download one, at the AppStore and Google Play.

2. A positive energy boost

As you may know, caregiving takes energy. There are things you can do though to give yourself more of it. Here are some ideas to try when you’re out and about:

  • When taking the bus, try getting off one stop earlier than usual and walking the rest of the distance. 
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Ride a bicycle instead of taking the car.
  • If you have a bit more time for yourself, get together with a friend for a little exercise. 
Remember: a healthy lifestyle helps to improve your overall sense of comfort. And it gives you more energy for taking care of your loved one.

3. Tuning up your life

Music. It’s great for improving your mood. In your car or at work, listening to music that you like can make you feel happier and more relaxed. It’s scientifically proven.

 
While helping your loved one, try to listen to music that you both like. You’ll find it helps create a good feeling between the two of you.

4. Doing things you love

Once in a while, you might feel you’d just like to lie in bed or read magazines, or going out to the cinema. That's OK, feel free to do it. When you have some spare time, allow yourself to simply enjoy life, leaving your day-to-day routines behind.

 
It’s very important to have a life outside of caregiving - in fact it will make you a better caregiver.

5. Working together

Don't try to be a superhero taking on full weekly routines all by yourself. Work together with family members or friends. Ask them to support you. Have them cover for you, to keep your loved one company, while you take time off. Or get them to do your shopping. Or just have a heart-to-heart talk with them on a bad day.

 
Your family members will be more willing to help out in the future when they see how hard you work as a caregiver.

6. A good diet

It’s important to stay healthy when you’re caring for someone. Fortunately, keeping a healthy lifestyle needn’t be difficult. It might surprise you to know that a good diet can actually help you reduce stress.

 
Avoid high-fat foods like meat and cheese. And eat plenty of vegetables and fruit instead.
 
While caffeine drinks like coffee, tea and colas will give you a lift, remember that they’ll also interfere with your sleep.
 
And although you may get initial comfort from sugary foods, they eventually make you “crash” and feel tired.
 
Ask your doctor for tips on a nutritious diet. Because a healthy caregiver is a stronger caregiver.

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