As a caregiver, you know you need to de-stress. But who has time to go to five yoga classes a week or the money to indulge in a professional massage? There are ways to lower stress without leaving your home, and without spending money. You're surrounded by everyday household items right now that have the power to help you relax and unwind. You just have to know where to look!
Soak a hand towel in water and then microwave it for two minutes until its steamy. Place the towel on the back of your neck and then over your face. As the soothing heat hits your skin, your body will instinctively relax.
Not only is running water a great noise muffler, but the sound and feel of water is therapeutic. For maximum effectiveness, focus on the task at hand. The goal isn't to scrub down and towel off in under 30 seconds. Take 10 minutes for a hot, unhurried shower or a steamy bath and feel the stress melt away. Massage your head as you shampoo, use a scented body wash, loofah your skin gently. When you emerge, you will feel rejuvenated and ready to take on the rest of your day.
Don't keep your anger, fear and frustration all bottled up. Vent it by putting pen to paper. Studies show that writing about stressful events in your life for just 10 minutes dramatically lowers your perception of your personal stress. Experts aren't exactly sure why it works. Perhaps it's because writing gets your worries out of your head and into the real world where it's easier to do something about them. It could be a more transcendental explanation: the transfer of your stress through your hand, out your body and onto the paper. Or maybe the exercise simply stops you from ruminating about your problems. No matter what the reason, the result is the same: Less stress and a better mood.
Skip the coffee and opt for tea instead. Research has shown that drinking tea on a daily basis can help lower stress hormones and inducing greater feelings of relaxation. Try proven stress-busting brews, like Chamomile or black tea.
How often do you turn on the TV for "background noise." Instead of reaching for the remote, pop in a CD. Music has proven therapeutic benefits and does wonders to alleviate stress. Experts suggest that it is the rhythm of the music or the beat that has the calming effect on us even though we may not even be consciously listening to it.
Aromatherapy is, well, therapeutic. Lavender, jasmine and chamomile scents relax the mind and relieve stress. Give yourself several minutes of slow, deep, even breathing. Imagine that with each breath, the scents are entering your nose and spreading throughout your body, relaxing tight muscles and alleviating tension.
These moments will soon become one of your favorite times of the day.