There is so much stress associated with care giving. At one point in my life, it really took a toll. I ended up doing some things that seem to have helped me and I wanted to get other people's opinion about them.

One thing that I did was get a sleep study, since I was waking up during the night feeling like I was going to die!(I thought it was stress.) As it turns out, I didn't stop breathing, but I had shallow breathing for the most part. Cpap really helped and 8 months later, I see a big improvement in my energy, memory, motivation and overall health. I do use the Cpap nightly.

I also started taking Coconut oil capsules. I don't know if they really do help with memory, but mine is much better. I have better focus and memory and I feel like I can do mental tasks as I did when I was younger. I'm now in my 50's and I work full time.

I'm also taking daily Vitamin D-3 and B-12 per doctor's orders.

I've just started walking for exercise, so it's too early to predict those results, but I hope that it will help too.

I'm trying to eat a balanced diet, but I'm not interested in anything too strict. I've lost almost 40 pounds since I became a caregiver, but I was not trying.

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Sunny, you're on the right track. Hope your mini vacation renews and restores your spirit! What kind of exhibit are you visiting?

There's a literal flood of coloring books in grocery stores and book stores. I think most of them have been generated since the Zentangle movement began. Some have some decent drawings; others are just plain ugly.

I get all my coloring books through Dover; their designs are very high quality (such as ones with Alphonse Mucha's Art Nouveau creations, Tiffany designs, landscapes, flowers, animals and more. I signed up for the weekly free designs, printed them out, rescaled them at Fex-Ex Kinkos, and copied them onto paper, but I also bought dozens of them for card creation as well.

These are some great suggestions. I do really like the one about volunteering. It's just that with my own business, plus helping with care giving for my parents, my cousin as well as a special needs young niece and a couple of pets....well...time is limited. I do want to do that though.

I bought my dad an adult coloring book. Maybe, I should try it for myself.

And, I'm planning a mini vacation later this week. I'm visiting with old friends and visiting an exhibit. I have to learn to relax more.

This is a good question, and very, very appropriate!

I find that I too am challenged and have to often be creative about controlling stress and anxiety.

The things that relax me the most when stress begins looming like a monster are generally art, gardening, music or reading related.

1. I used to make my own cards; the process of coloring, working on deepening and shading is very calming and soothing, and switches my focus to achieving the balance of color and depth I want.

2. If I don't want to take the time to draw, I'll send cards to family and friends, just to reach out and send something lovely through the mail. Going through my collection of cards exposes me to beautiful images and color blends. That alone is wonderful respite.

But selecting just the right card, writing a thoughtful note, adding color matching stamps, address labels and decorative stamps on the envelope completes the process. Just looking at the envelopes and seeing the color blends makes me feel happy again.

3. Music: It's transcendental. The lilting music of Mozart and often Chopin are calming and soothing. The majesty of Beethoven's Symphonies, especially the Ode to Joy in the Ninth Symphony, are uplifting, inspirational and completely take me out of whatever mood I might have been in.

Waltzes and marches have special appeal.

4. Gardening. Exposure to sun, shade, breezes, the fragrance of herbs and flowers in the summer, and that of falling leaves in autumn - it's all very soothing, calming, but also a prime example of how people connect to the land through gardening, how we nourish our soul through contact with the natural world....whether it's watching a butterfly flit from flower to flower or seeing a rabbit hop through the garden selecting its meal from the vegetables.

There's a connection with nature that is transcendental. Some people gain this through walking, hiking, canoeing, kayaking... I think basic human needs to bond with something larger than ourselves are achieved through contact with nature.

5. Reading. Libraries are opportunities to expand our knowledge, to travel where we otherwise couldn't afford to go, to learn new things, to study and master a subject, to find soothing or exciting literature.

6. Aromatherapy. Lavender, basil, oregano, rose petals, peonies - they elevate the senses on a level that's very, very basic. And of course no one can deny the fragrance and appeal of chocolate. I still remember the unique appeal of melting chocolate and vanilla as Mom, my sister and I whipped up a chocolate delectable after we got home from school.

Chocolate is better than a sedative!

Sunny, I'm guessing that walking is one of the most rewarding therapies you'll experience, especially as winter becomes spring, the grass turns green again and flowers begin to appear like soft lights from the monotone of winter's cover.

Sunny, good suggestions. My stress reliever has been to hire a cleaner who comes for 4 hours, twice a month. She gets my bathrooms and kitchen spotless and vacuums. Much peace of mind.

I would join the wine of the month club.

No, really, the only thing I do is do volunteer work Saturday mornings at the local regional hospital in my area, I've been doing this for the past 20 years, and now am filling the slot where my parents use to volunteer but had to retire. My "co-worker" is also dealing with aging parents in India, and it is fascinating to hear how our issues are so similar, thus what we go through is world-wide.

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