• Jake Kielmeyer

Take a Breather: 5 Quick and Simple Things Caregivers can do to Relax

Being a caregiver is time-consuming and stressful. Between housekeeping, doctors’ appointments, cooking, estate planning, and being with your own family, it’s easy to neglect caring for yourself. You want to provide the best care you can for your loved one but in order to that, need to take a little time for yourself.

Below, are 5 simple and quick self-care techniques that you can do daily to help relieve stress and recharge.

1. Body Scan

Like meditation, mindfulness is being introspective about your current feelings and state of mind. One mindfulness technique that I find effective is body scanning. Body scanning is focusing intensely on very specific parts of your body and moving up and down your body focusing on every part of it. This relieves stress and is a quick and peaceful exercise to do.

I like to start off by focusing on my little toe. How the fabric of my sock feels, how warm or cold it is, and if it feels cramped in my shoes. From there, I move slowly up my body taking every small feeling in until I reach my forehead. After that, I take 5 deep breathes through my stomach and I feel refreshed.

2. Light a candle

Aromatherapy is soothing and can fill your home with the smells of comfort. Scents like lavender and honey can make you feel sweet and calm while scents like cinnamon and pine can make you feel full and warm. At the very least, a good smell can be enjoyed by you and your loved one.

3. Play Music

Music is one of the most intimately personal and emotional things we get to experience as humans. Music takes us back in time to special moments, it makes us feel, and it always stands the test of time. So please, break out that old record or queue up a few songs on Spotify and just lose yourself in the warmth of sound.

4. Be a Little Artsy

So, you’re not a Picasso and can’t play the piano like Billy Joel. Who cares? Everyone has a creative energy and expressing that energy through an effective medium is a deeply cathartic exercise. Being an imaginary person, I love to draw. Even though I’m not going to be invited to an art show anytime soon, drawing helps me ease stress. I pick up my pencil or pen and mindlessly move about the page, tuning out the world around me and watch the pen dance gracefully around the page.

If drawing isn’t your speed, write a poem or diary entry, dust off your piano, or practice the joy of creation however you want to. I can assure you its worth the time.

5. Have a few Guilty Pleasures

My mom always said that eating chocolate was good for the soul, and I agree. Having a guilty pleasure every once and a while shouldn’t be so guilty, and it will bring a smile to your face and a little bit of joy. So, eat that cake, have a glass and enjoy a piece chocolate, or two.

Remember that no matter how hectic of a day you have as a caregiver, taking a little bit of time for quick respite is good for you and your loved one. You give your all to them, and whether they say it or not, they love you for it. So please, take some time to care for yourself, you deserve it.

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