- Take time for yourself every day. Try yoga before breakfast, slip out for a 20-minute walk, go to the movies or take time for a favorite hobby. Even a short break can help.
- Get enough sleep. Most caregivers who say their own health has gotten worse blame loss of sleep. Relaxation exercises, such as deep breathing, may help you at bedtime. If your loved one sleeps during the day but is awake much of the night, try to take naps.
- Join a support group. Look for support groups related to your loved one’s illness, if possible. The local agency on aging may have a listing. Or consider joining an online community.
- Let animals assist. Spending time with a cat or dog can sooth not only those who are sick or confined to the home, but also to their caregivers as well. Pets can lower blood pressure, reduce stress and even make elderly people more alert.
- Turn on some music. Music and art can spark fun shared moments for you and the person you’re caring for. Familiar music can bring back memories and may lead to clapping or dancing. Art projects should be simple and safe but not too childlike.
- Use timers and reminders. Buy pill boxes that sound an alarm when it’s time for the next dose. Try a smartphone app or an online medicine reminder. Pill organizers are a low-tech option.
It’s easy to get burned out when you’re caring for a loved one. Here are some tips from WebMD to help lower your stress and recharge: