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Being a caregiver can be an exhausting pursuit. While it’s important work, many caregivers feel burned-out and tired because of their caregiving duties. What’s more, many aren’t sure how to cope with the stress and anxiety their professions create.
Because of this, it’s essential for caregivers to have healthy outlets to relieve stress, get in touch with themselves and friends, and live happy, centered lives. Luckily finding a healthy outlet is easier than you might think! Here are our top ten suggestions.
10 Healthy Outlets for Caregivers
Whether you work as a family caregiver or a caregiver for an in-home agency, having an outlet is more critical than you might think. Stress, a major factor in virtually every chronic disease, weighs heavily on caregivers, and a good outlet is essential to blow off steam and cope well with the stresses of caregiving life. These ten outlets are great places to start:
Writing has been shown to calm the mind, relieve stress, alleviate anxiety and heal trauma, promote good communication skills and increase your memory capacity. Luckily, you don’t need to be Hemingway to do it.
If you’ve never written before, there are many ways to get started. Consider joining a local writing class or taking a writing course online. These guided formats are attractive for people with no experience in writing who want to get started in a group setting.
If you’d prefer to do it yourself, you can just purchase a notebook and some pens and jot down your feelings at the end of each day. Set a timer for 5-10 minutes and write until it goes off. Don’t try to structure yourself or edit yourself as you go – just write!
While many people are intimidated by writing, it can be a fantastic outlet for people in high-stress environments. Simply getting your brain out on paper can work wonders to reduce your stress and provide an outlet at the end of a hard day.
There’s no underestimating the importance of learning to do something with your hands. If you’ve never been a crafty person, ceramics is a great place to start. In addition to the fact that ceramics classes are available at most community colleges, universities, and local arts studios, ceramics is also a great way to create some lovely keepsakes for you, your family, and your patients.
You may also find that, over time, you enjoy ceramics enough that you want to pursue it as a hobby for years to come.
Exercise has been shown to be more effective than pharmaceuticals at treating anxiety and depression. If you feel stressed-out and overworked by your caregiving position, blow off some steam with exercise.
A good 30-minute run, brisk hike, long yoga class, or walk with your dog is a great way to get the feel-good energy flowing, and to manage stress caused by your work. What’s more, exercise also keeps your heart healthy, fights weight gain, and helps you sleep better at night.
Not sure where to start with exercise? Don’t go it alone. Partner with an active friend or join a gym, most of which offer a few personal training sessions with new memberships. This will help you learn to work out safely and correctly.
Therapy can be invaluable for people struggling to manage the stress of their caregiving positions. For best results, seek out a therapist with experience working with caregivers.
While many people believe that therapy won’t help them, it can be a fantastic way to handle the stress and difficulties of caregiving and find healthier ways to cope with difficult emotions like grief and sadness.
5. Support Groups
Like therapy, support groups provide an important bouncing-off point for people who work in stressful professions like caregiving. In a support group, you’ll find a dedicated group of like-minded individuals who understand your struggles and can work with you to help alleviate them.
What’s more, support groups can work with you to turn you on to helpful resources and give you the tools you need to navigate difficult caregiving situations.
Dance is a great way to get your body moving and dump stress all at once. Never been a dancer? No problem! Sign up for a fun local dance class in your community or join a local play to get moving.
Designed to incorporate fun, discipline, and exercise all into one movement, dance is a great way to cope with the stresses of being a caregiver.
Having trouble staying in the moment? Meditation might be able to help. Designed to offer the help you need calming down, getting rid of obsessive or difficult thoughts, and maintaining your center throughout the day, meditation is a great outlet for busy or stressed-out caregivers who need help coping.
Studies have also shown that mindfulness meditation is effective at resolving anxiety, which is a bonus for caregivers.
Yoga combines breath and movement for a truly calming experience that’s also good for your body. Clear up kinks in your back with downward dog while breathing your way through a stressful day or a difficult situation.
Reading is one of the best ways to escape from reality and infuse yourself into a new and exciting world! Pick up a novel you love to escape the day-to-day and get busy imagining new and exciting worlds. It’s also a great way to combat stress and cut down on anxiety.
10. Meeting with Friends
Laughter is the best medicine and meeting with friends is a great way to blow off steam and help yourself recover from busy caregiving days. Make tie in your schedule to get together with the friends you love and cherish.
Not only will you feel happier and less stressed because of it, but you’ll also maintain your connection to the outside world and keep your finger on the pulse of the things that keep you inspired and exited outside of caregiving.
Healthier Outlets Start Here
There’s no question about it: being a caregiver can be difficult. Finding healthy outlets is key to coping with those difficulties, though. Luckily, activities like dancing, reading, yoga, and writing can help you work through difficult emotions and find healthy methods of expression.
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