Aging Parents: 9 Stress-Relief Tips for Caregivers

Vanquish Stress at Holiday Time

Mayo Clinic’s latest online issue of HouseCall, links to one of its earlier articles, Stress Relief for Caregivers. “How appropriate,” I thought. We’re heading into the holiday season. What caregiver won’t feel stressed! And who doesn’t need relief!

For those of us with dual responsibilities as caregivers to aging parents plus our own families–or triple responsibilities if a job is also part of our life–adding holiday expectations and must-do’s creates a life just waiting for stress. If we let it consume us, can we see our way clear to delegate or think of ways to lighten the load? Don’t we quickly nix delegating responsibilities because it feels like explaining to someone will take as much time as doing the job ourself?

Before overload takes over, in an effort to help everyone reduce stress when time is short and responsibilities mount, I’ve copied tip #8 “Get Musical, Be Creative,” below because it worked well for my counselees and usually isn’t thought of first.

Get musical and be creative

Listening to or playing music is a good stress reliever because it provides a mental distraction, reduces muscle tension and decreases stress hormones. Crank up the volume and let your mind be absorbed by the music. 

If music isn’t your thing, turn your attention to another hobby you enjoy, such as gardening, sewing, sketching — anything that requires you to focus on what you’re doing rather than what you think you should be doing.

I often suggested to my counselees, who complained of stress overload, that they try something that gives them a time out, perhaps a non-rushed shower, warm bath–something they really enjoyed. And I remember one girl came to my office the next day to tell me she took my suggestion and it worked.

She started hooking a rug–something she’d learned to do in middle school. She loved it, had left over materials and wanted to do it again, but never had time. She said it was like waving a magic wand for reducing stress. My suggestion was, of course, general. Hooking a rug would never have entered my mind.

That said, Tip #1, “Get Active,” is no doubt thought of first, when stress-relief comes to mind.

For all of us who are helping aging parents, may these timely tips result in he most stress-free holiday season we’ve had in many years

(Read entire article-clickStress Relief for Caregivers) 

Note: Newsworthy (right sidebar)Links to timely articles and research from highly respected universities and professionals–to help parents age well.

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