Here are some easy ways to combat the stress that results from the Caregiving Dilemma.
Caregiving Dilemma Leads to Caregiver Stress
We were struck by an offhand comment from the adult child of one of our senior care clients recently:
I don’t have time to relax.
It can seem like an endless cycle: the very causes of stress and anxiety in our lives make it even more difficult to find time for the activities that refresh and revitalize us. It’s not a situation unique to caregivers, but the unrelenting nature of caregiver stress is compounded by the conflicting demands and inherent complexity of the role.
We know we need to relax, but many of us don’t know how to do it. Experts recommend various relaxation techniques and some people find them quite effective. Deep breathing or meditation can be done when and where you find a few minutes or even just a few seconds. But there’s no single answer for everyone.
The Benefits of Coloring Therapy
Coloring books for adults have recently become popular, maybe because they’re specifically not so-called exercises, just mindless fun. When you do something you enjoy, even for just a few stolen moments at a time, the mind and the body have a chance to reset.
It's not hard to find great coloring books for grownups on sale at local bookstores, convenience stores, and even grocery stores. Amazon and other shopping websites offer a variety of choices.
There are also websites that let you print free coloring pages from home, such as coloring-pages-adults.com.
Here's one example we found available on WikiPedia. (Just click on the image to view it full-screen and print it out!)
Image by U3100543 [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
You can also turn this relaxation time into a social experience with your elderly family member. Try printing out a few pages and spend some relaxed moments coloring them in with Mom or Dad. You'll both benefit from the experience. In fact, coloring therapy has been said to have an even greater impact on older people.
Tear Up Your Bad Thoughts
Taking a different route to a usual destination can be a stolen moment. So can rolling up the windows, turning up the radio and singing at the top of your lungs. One of my colleagues likes writing her daily worries on individual scraps of paper. She gives each one a few seconds of consideration, then by dramatically crumpling it and throwing it in the wastebasket, releases herself from that worry for another day.
It sounds too simple, but she swears by it.
Share Your Winning Stress Relief Strategies
Since no one technique works for everybody, it’s important to share strategies and ideas with others in the same situation, since we’re all in it together.
If you’ve come across a simple way to relax and refresh that works for you, please share it with our community by writing a comment on our Facebook page.