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5 Stress Relieving Activities for Caregivers

Dana Larsen
By Dana LarsenAugust 22, 2013

Caregivers often put themselves last which can really take a toll on both their physical and mental health. Joan Lunden’s Camp Reveille had some great sessions on the importance of caregiver wellness and taking the time to nourish the caregiver’s soul, mind and body. Read about 5 activities that are caregiver favorites and can easily be done in the comfort of your own home. 

One of the common challenges for caregivers is finding time to rest, relax and recharge. Taking the time to make caregiver wellness a priority, even for 30 minutes a day, can have a positive impact on your health, mind and spirit. The problem is that while many caregivers are aware that they need to make a change to take care of themselves; they don’t really know to do it. It’s really hard to break routine.

Taking some cues from Joan Lunden and Gail Migliozzi — featured health and wellness coach at Camp Reveille — here are 5 stress-relieving caregiver wellness activities to consider (and keep in mind that each of these activities can be done either through an instructor-led class in your neighborhood or by buying a book or DVD or borrowing one from your library!):

  1. Meditation — The beauty of meditation is that anyone can do it, anywhere, anytime.  It delivers a sense of calm and peace, making it an excellent stress and tension reliever. Whether you can spare 10 minutes or 30 at the beginning or end of your day; meditation can help ease tension and allow you to gain a new perspective on a stressful situation.  There are many forms of meditation, so try a few to find the one that works best for you.
  2. Morning and Evening Stretch — Begin and end your day with some gentle stretching to relax and release tired muscles, improve circulation and range of motion. Just a few minutes each morning and evening can make an impact on your day.
  3. Tai Chi — Tai Chi involves a series of slow, graceful movements accompanied by gentle deep breathing.  Some describe Tai Chi as “meditation in motion.” It’s an excellent, low-impact exercise that reduces stress and anxiety while getting your energy flowing.
  4. Yoga — With a focus on the synchronization of movement and breath, yoga builds strength, stamina, balance and flexibility.  It can help reduce stress and lower blood pressure, while improving your overall fitness.  As with meditation, there a variety of forms of yoga. It’s a popular form of exercise and classes, videos and books are readily available.
  5. Pilates — This popular program focuses on building core strength and torso stability, which improves levels of strength, balance, flexibility, muscle tone, stamina, and general well-being. Pilates is an excellent option for any age or fitness level as the exercises, which can be done on a floor mat or special Pilates equipment, can be easily modified.

Prioritize: Find the Time to Care For Yourself

I have often heard that the definition of insanity is: “To change nothing and expect different results.” If you are a caregiver and are in need of some pampering – but don’t have time to spare – you need to get creative. Try some of the activities mentioned above or just take some time doing the things you love; whether it’s reading a book, joining a cooking class or just getting away to see a movie. Enlist family or friends to help you watch your loved one, and if no one is available, consider respite stay or adult day services to give yourself a break. After all, you and your loved one will be much better off if you can take the time to rejuvenate yourself and get that skip back in your step.

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Do you have stress relieving activities you can recommend? What caregiver wellness tips do you have to share with our readers? We welcome comments below.

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