What goes through your mind when someone says "you just need to relax"?
My guess is you are not instantly deep breathing and calming down, correct?
If anything, you are more worked up now than before they offered their "helpful" opinion. (I need a designated sarcasm font! lol)
The truth is, they are correct. We do need to learn to unwind. Please stick with me; I'm not finished. While their sentiment may be right, it is not helpful. We know stress is bad for our minds and bodies when it's prolonged, and caregiving definitely comes with a lot of stress.
But what can we realistically do?
We can't run away, and we can't ignore it and hope things work out. Actually, we can do both of those things, but they are not good options. So, what can we do?
Here are a few things we can do to relax and unwind:
Read a book. You might have to read tiny bits at a time, but you can still read if it brings you joy. Don't think you can squeeze in any time? What about while waiting at the doctor's office? Or read while soaking in a hot tub after they've gone to bed? I've even stashed a funny book in the bathroom to read a few jokes in peace and quiet!
Go for a walk. Take your loved one along so they can enjoy some fresh air too. I used to push my mother-in-law in her wheelchair up and around my neighborhood, and she loved it! That didn't work for mom, who hates to walk and is happier watching a movie. In her case, I occasionally asked someone to come to sit on the couch with her to watch a movie while I took a short break.
Mom lived with my brother Mitch and his wife, for a number of years. They would have mom go to the Daily Living Center where she would be entertained all day. This helped meet mom's need for social interactions and forced her to get some exercise.
Some benefits of her getting exercise are improved circulation, lower blood pressure, improved mood, increased muscle strength, and generally better sleep at night.
The interesting thing is that all those benefits plus lower stress levels are benefits WE get when we exercise as well! Who knew? 🙂 Can you really afford NOT to take care of yourself?
I get it. I feel like somewhat of a hypocrite for even suggesting you need to take care of yourself when I was so bad at it! But here's the thing, after I hit rock bottom, I learned to do better. My desire is to spare you the crash and burn. Everyone will appreciate the happier, more relaxed, more patient version of you.
I can help you if you can't see how to make it happen.
Shoot me an e-mail and we can set up a zoom call. I'll evaluate your situation, help identify resources, and offer a sympathetic ear. You will leave encouraged, refreshed, and more relaxed. DebCompton1@gmail.com
And the best part......For a limited time, I will give you a one-on-one consultation, valued at $100. for FREE! It's my way of saying thanks for being part of my tribe. I appreciate you!
There's no sales pitch. No obligation to continue. No pressure. We will discuss whatever is troubling you in complete confidentiality. What do you say?
Will you allow me to help you or will you keep struggling alone?
The choice is yours and I love you either way.