The American Psychological Association lists the nation’s future and money woes as the top two stressors in 2017. If you’re caring for a parent, it’s very likely you’re paying for some of your parents’ expenses.
In addition to money, sleep deprivation, poor diet, relationships/loneliness, and health have been other factors. All of these are things you face every day when you’re a family caregiver. In the U.S., it’s believed that almost 8 out of 10 people are so stressed that they develop physical symptoms. If this is you, it’s time to put these 6 stress busters to work.
#1 – Change Your Diet
Get rid of foods that are high in fat, sodium, sugar, processed ingredients. That frozen pot pie may be easy, but it’s full of fat, sodium, and sugar.
Instead of a freezer meal, take a sheet of foil. Place a portion of fish in the center and top it with spinach or chard. Drizzle that with olive oil and sprinkle on crushed garlic and dill. Bake that for 20 minutes and enjoy a quick and healthy meal.
#2 – Get Enough Exercise
Take 30 minutes every day to go for a walk. Focus on your breathing during the walk. Take deep breathes in through the nose, hold them for a count of five, and slowly breathe out through your mouth.
#3 – Know When to Say No
Stress often builds when you take on too many tasks. It’s hard but learn to say no. You’re at your parents’ house all day. When your parents have their dinner and the kitchen is clean, you’re ready to go to your own house and relax. Don’t agree to stop by and walk your neighbor’s dog on nights she’s working late. It may help her, but it’s adding to your stress.
#4 – Change the Schedule
You have a daily schedule to stick to, but that doesn’t mean all of it needs to be done that day. Items like meals and medications are important. The world won’t end if you put off vacuuming for one day.
Instead, put your mom and dad in the car and head to the beach. Relax to the sounds of the surf or lake water lapping at the shore while the sun beats down on you.
#5 – Be Loud
You feel the stress building. You need a way to vent it. Crank up some music and be loud. Sing at the top of your lungs while you dance around the house with a duster. Get your parents to join in.
#6 – Schedule Respite Care
Call an elder care agency and arrange respite care. The goal of respite care is to give you a break. That break could be for a day here and there, regular days, or while you take a vacation. An elder care agent can help you arrange the services to ensure you don’t burn out.