High stress is nobody’s friend, least of all home caregivers, who usually have more than a full load to handle. When people feel stressed, they’re less effective at their tasks, including taking care of any elderly patients in their lives. And while a little bit of stress can be motivational, high levels slow people down. Add in the fact that too much stress is a health risk, and it’s clear that home caregivers who are over-stressed need to take steps to rein things in.
That’s easier said than done, of course, but the following tips may prove useful in helping to lower stress levels to something more manageable.
- Snack in a healthy way. Food is one of the first things that many people turn to when feeling tense and anxious. Unfortunately, many of the most popular comfort foods, such as potato chips and sweets, are unhealthy. Also, though they may provide temporary relief from stress, “crashing” from them can actually raise stress levels. Instead of giving in to the cookie temptation, try reaching for an apple or an orange instead. Healthy fruits and vegetables can also help to raise energy levels and attain a new perspective on matters.
- Go for the routine. Repetitious actions can be monotonous and boring – but that makes them ideal for a high stress situation. If things are especially tense one day, spend a few minutes running the vacuum or folding socks. Even better, sit for a few minutes and repeat a favorite phrase over and over.
- Turn off the tech. Increasingly, people feel anxious because of the demands that our instant-answer society places upon us. There’s no law that says one must answer every email or text message as soon as it comes in. Occasionally taking a brief (or extended) break from technology can be just the refresher home caregivers need.
- Write it out. Sometimes people feel stressed without really knowing why. Taking a few minutes to sit down and simply write or type out the issues that are causing anxiety can help. Often people discover that what they thought was bothering them isn’t the real cause of their stress.
- Get in touch – literally. Sometimes a release of physical tension can do wonders for eliminating stress. Getting a spouse, sibling or friend to administer a back rub or a massage can be a wonderful way to achieve a more relaxed state.