Valentine’s Day: People send cards, flowers and candies to special people in their lives, but some people tend to overlook themselves. This is especially true for family caregivers.
Family caregivers are often so busy caring for others that they neglect their physical and emotional well-being. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, one in 10 family caregivers says caregiving has caused their physical health to get worse. Moreover, family caregivers report higher rates of everything from acid reflux, headaches and bodily pain to more serious chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Mental health is affected also: Family caregivers report higher levels of depression, anxiety and stress.
There are many ways for family caregivers to manage their stress levels, including introducing smartphone apps and accepting assistance from others to help them or their loved one.
Taking time for rest and relaxation is also an important part of reducing stress. If you are one of those people who can’t seem to unwind or de-stress, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health lists some different techniques.
- Progressive relaxation or progressive muscle relaxation involves tensing and relaxing one group of muscles at a time. This practice can lower your overall tension and stress levels.
- Guided imagery involves using your imagination and senses. For example, you can create a scene in your mind where you are on a beach. You can feel the sun’s warmth, hear the ocean roar and see seagulls flying over waves.
- Biofeedback involves controlling your body through your own thoughts. During this technique, you are connected to electrical sensors, which provide you with information about your bodily functions, such as heart rate, breathing and temperature. By becoming aware of what your body is doing, you can consciously try to make changes such as resting a sore muscle.
We at ComForCare/At Your Side Home Care want you to relax and care for yourself. So, this Valentine’s Day, show yourself some love and give us a call. We offer respite care, so you can take some time off and get the relaxation you need. We can provide help from a few hours a day to around-the-clock care.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published Feb. 1, 2016. It has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.