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7 Tips for Dialing Down Stress while Caregiving

Caring for an aging parent – giving back to the person who cared for you your entire life – can be a rewarding experience. However, providing care without assistance, especially when juggling other responsibilities such as a family and work life, can also be stressful on both a physical and emotional level. While you likely already know the benefits of getting adequate sleep and eating healthy and balanced meals, Home Care Assistance of Toronto, Ontario offers a few tips for dialing down stress that you may not be familiar with.

  1. Cry if you need to. Caregivers can sometimes bottle up emotions to an unhealthy point. Therefore, it is always important to try to express your emotions, even if it means crying for a few minutes. The release will reduce the sense of trauma. In fact, a recent study shows that crying can be even more effective than taking antidepressants.
  1. Embrace the ones you love. Hug a friend, your child, spouse or other family member. Studies show that a ten second hug can boost your immune system, fight infection, ease depression and reduce fatigue! Embrace for an additional ten seconds and researchers say you may enjoy decreased blood pressure, heart rate and fewer physical effects of stress. 
  1. Snuggle with a pet. The national Household Survey (NHS) has conducted cardiac studies on pet owners. They found many benefits in having a pet including reduced blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides.
  1. Try to exercise regularly. Exercise increases energy, improves mood, and boosts brain function. It causes the release of endorphins, the body’s feel-good hormones and also alleviates anxiety, sparks creativity, and promotes relaxation. The key to enjoying exercise is to choose a form that’s fun for you. Even as your schedule gets hectic, taking the time to march in place during television commercials, dance with your children in the hallway or head out to a fitness class with a friend, can reduce your overall stress and improve your mood.
  1. Schedule regular naps. Naps can renew your energy and supplement sleep, especially if you’re short on shut-eye. Just 20-30 minutes of napping can recharge your battery and allow you to return to your caregiving duties with a more refreshed outlook. And if you need a longer break, consider professional Toronto hourly care for respite. Caregivers can provide your loved one with the high quality care they need and deserve, and you can take a break to attend to your own needs.
  1. Learn relaxation techniques. Sprinkle relaxation techniques throughout your day to give yourself respite periods. Examples are meditation, visualization, reading, and taking a comfortable bath or shower. Yoga and Tai Chi are other great means for unwinding, consisting of easeful movements and synchronized breathing and meditation.
  1.  Don’t forget to laugh. Laughing not only brings a smile to your face and boosts mood, it can lower blood pressure, reduce stress hormones, improve cardiac health and give the immune system a boost. Take time out of your day to laugh with friends and family, watch a funny movie or television show, your body will thank you!

Once you get the knack for managing stress, you won’t be subject to burnout. Also, please remember that you’re not alone. Home Care Assistance of Toronto is available for hourly and live-in home care in Toronto and Etobicoke and has a team of highly trained and compassionate caregivers who are available for help with daily tasks, personal care, medication reminders, transportation and more.

Reach out to us today at 416-488-8777 to discuss your family’s care needs with a friendly Care Manager and take the first step toward respite and renewed sense of peace and comfort.