5 Fast Ways for Carers to Deal with Stress
It’s common for caregivers to deal with difficult feelings like stress and anxiety. Stress is a natural and understandable reaction to a very challenging situation. While there’s no miracle cure, there are ways that caregivers can quickly address stress before it starts to get out of hand. Since most caregivers are pressed for time, all of the suggestions below take less than ten minutes – but can still make a huge difference.
1. Do a Five-Minute Meditation
Meditation isn’t as complicated as it might sound, and it’s something which can be practiced wherever you are. If you’ve never meditated before, try downloading an app like Calm or Headspace and following along with a guided meditation. Alternatively, simply set a timer for five minutes, close your eyes, and focus your attention on your breathing. When you get distracted by thoughts, emotions, or sounds around you, simply bring your attention back to your breath.
The more often you meditate, the easier it will feel. You could even encourage the person you care for to meditate with you if they’re willing and able – this way you’ll both reap the benefits.
2. Go for a Short Walk in Nature
There’s nothing more refreshing than spending a little time in nature – but you don’t need to go far to enjoy some peace. If you live close to a park or green space, take a five-minute stroll as a way to break up your day. If you have a garden, set aside some time to have a little wander around and notice the wildlife. Even a quick walk along a tree-lined street can be enough to lessen stress significantly. It’s also beneficial to get some exercise, particularly if you’re sitting down for most of the day.
3. Write Five Positive Things in a Journal
When caregiving, it can be easy to get focused on the negatives. You might worry about the person you’re caring for, feel anxious about the future, or get frustrated by your situation. Taking a few moments to find the positives in each day is a valuable way to reframe things and help yourself feel better.
Even when things are hard, there’s usually something you can feel grateful for. For example, you might be thankful for access to clean water and enough food, for family members helping you with caregiving, or for a happy moment with the person you’re caring for. You can look back through this journal as a pick-me-up when times are tough.
4. Follow a Short Yoga Video on Youtube
Getting enough exercise is often hard as a caregiver, and you might not have the time to get out and attend classes or hit the gym. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to stay fit at home, and many don’t take long.
YouTube yoga videos are a great choice because they’re quick, calming, and suitable for most ability levels. Even a five-minute yoga practice will help you to feel more connected to your mind and body, reducing feelings of stress. Put together a playlist of a few go-to videos that don’t take long to complete.
5. Work on a Pen and Paper Puzzle
Sometimes distraction is the best way to cope with difficult feelings. Pen and paper puzzles are a cheap, easy way to give your brain a workout and take your mind off your worries. They can be kept in your bag, making them ideal for locations like doctor’s waiting rooms. Choose from crosswords, sudokus, word searches and more – or buy a book with a mix of puzzles for some variety. You might be able to get the person you’re caring for involved with the puzzles too, which can provide some light relief for both of you.
Finding ways to cope with stress is important for all caregivers. When you take the time to look after yourself, you’re more able to help others and less likely to get burned out. Try slotting the quick stress-relief techniques above into your day.