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3 Ways Family Caregivers Can Unwind After a Tough Day

Family caregiving can be a great source of pride. After all, you are providing your loved one with the quality of life they want and deserve. And yet, at the same time, it can be exhausting.

Nearly 1 in 3 adults care for other adults as informal caregivers. Caregivers are often on call 24 hours a day, and many family caregivers work 24 hours or more per week, and that may be on top of existing personal and professional priorities.

It is no small task taking care of a loved one. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that family caregiving can feel physically and mentally exhausting. Informal or unpaid caregivers may have higher levels of depression and anxiety, for instance. You aren’t alone in feeling the pressure of family caregiving.

It’s important to notice how you’re feeling as a family caregiver. You shouldn’t ignore it if you are feeling overwhelmed, exhausted or stressed. Don’t forget to care for yourself while caring for your loved ones. After a difficult day, here are three ways to unwind as a family caregiver:

Get Moving

Exercise is a great stress reducer. It’s meditative, which can be helpful when there is so much on your mind. As a family caregiver, you may have a never-ending list of reminders in your head, phone calls to make, or groceries to purchase.

Physical movement, like walking, is one the simplest ways to clear your mind, even if just for a few moments. Going for a short walk outdoors in the sunshine during the morning or afternoon can also help fight depression.

Nature alone can help you relax. Grounding techniques are also helpful for combatting unsettling or upsetting thoughts, memories and emotions you might be experiencing as a family caregiver. Use your senses to see, smell and touch the flowers, trees and grass, and hear the birds chirping. There’s so much we don’t notice when our minds are racing. Take time for yourself and focus only on what is in front of you to help you unwind.

Take It Easy

If you’ve been running around town lately taking care of errands for yourself or your loved one, perhaps you need a relaxing night in.

Being still and quiet can lower your blood pressure, reduce muscle tension, and help you focus. You can get lost in a book or pamper yourself with a soothing bath.

To help you unwind, you can also chat with a friend or indulge in a movie. Music is also a valuable tool for reducing stress. It truly makes us feel good. Listening to music helps our bodies produce dopamine, the “feel good” hormone. You may find sounds of rain, thunder and nature restful.

You can find a wide variety of pleasant music on YouTube. Or, listen to your favorite artists. What’s key is that you find what you’re listening to relaxing.

Ask for Help

It’s important to know when to ask for help—maybe this is something you’ve said to your loved one.

As a family caregiver, you may have a strong passion or calling to take on a lot and feel the need to balance it all. It is OK to ask for help. In fact, it might be the best thing you can do for your loved one when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Set boundaries on how much you’re able to take on, physically and emotionally. Chat with other caregivers and family members about your need to take a break, and be sure to check in with medical professionals and therapists to help you manage your stress and mental health.

Right at Home respite care can be a wonderful resource. Respite care helps family caregivers recharge. The service allows you to catch up with a friend, grab a cup of coffee, spend the afternoon with your children, or even take a well-needed and well-earned nap. Whether you need a few hours or respite care for the entire day, your loved one will be in good hands with a Right at Home professional caregiver, who will follow your loved one’s care plan and provide exceptional care in your absence, allowing you to unwind and giving you peace of mind knowing that your loved one is in good hands.

Right at Home will work with your family to select compatible, qualified professional caregivers to ensure your loved one’s well-being at home. Our unique five-step process ensures just the right fit for your family. Or, contact your local Right at Home today and ask for a FREE in-home consultation.

Shelby Fisk is a writer who is passionate about connecting individuals to information that can improve their lives. She works extensively on wellness and education initiatives. You can find her on Twitter at @shelbyfisk.
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