How to Manage Stress as a Caregiver
April is Stress Awareness Month, and as a caregiver, we know you face stressful situations every day. Caring for a loved one with a disability can be demanding on your time and energy. Maybe you need to keep track of appointments, refill medications, or cook meals with special dietary requirements. Perhaps caring for your family member is physically demanding and you could use some significant time to rest. Many caregivers know they need to find time to care for themselves but question how it’s possible with the caregiving responsibilities they face every day.
RISE Services, Inc. Oregon understands the heavy burdens that are on you as you care for your loved one. If you’re struggling to find time for yourself, take a look at the tips below for some inspiration. Even if you begin with only 15 minutes each day, learning how to manage stress and practice self-care can make a world of difference.
Meditation or Prayer
Many individuals have found comfort and peace through meditation and prayer. Studies have proven that meditation can improve immune function, decrease blood pressure, and increase concentration. There are free meditation or prayer apps you can download to your smartphone and use any time of the day. Plus, you only need a few minutes a day to begin this practice, so it’s an easy option to incorporate into your busy schedule.
Another simple method for managing stress is to begin a daily gratitude practice. It can be easy to fall into the trap of focusing on the negative things happening in your life. Turn your negative thinking into a positive mindset with a gratitude journal. Take a few moments at the beginning and end of your day to list three or more things for which you are thankful. By writing them down in a journal or notebook, you can look back through your list when you’re having a particularly difficult day.
Create a peaceful and calm atmosphere in your home with aromatherapy. Many studies have demonstrated that essential oils, like lavender, ylang-ylang, or lemon, can have a calming effect on the body’s nervous system. We suggest diffusing a relaxing oil throughout your home or carrying an essential oil roll-on with you that you can use anytime. You can also keep it simple by adding a few drops of oil to a cotton ball and placing it in a dish or jar.
Find something you enjoy and make it a part of your day as often as you can. For some, that may be starting a hobby they once enjoyed such as painting, knitting, cooking, or gardening. For others, it could be reading your favorite fiction series or planning to go to the movies once a month. Whatever it is for you, it should be something that is refreshing, positive, and fun.
If you need more than a fun hobby or a 15-minute break from the daily stress of caregiving, ask about our respite services. We have several fun and engaging opportunities for children and adults living with disabilities such as day programs, attendant care, and in-home respite care. They can have fun with a qualified and compassionate adult caretaker while you get a much-needed break.
Another beneficial strategy for managing stress is finding a support network. It can be difficult for others to understand how you feel unless they’ve been in similar situations. By making connections with others who also care for their loved ones, you can find encouragement, support, and understanding from individuals who know exactly what you’re going through.
Invest in Yourself
Managing stress is all about investing in yourself. You can have the energy and compassion you need to be an amazing caregiver if you are able to show compassion to yourself first. To learn more about our respite services, in-home and community services, and supported living solutions, contact RISE Oregon today.
Source: “15 Quick Tips for Managing Caregiver Stress.” Web article. Daily Caring. Web. 17 Apr. 2023.