How caregivers cope with stress
stress busting through simple pleasures for caregivers

Coping with stress is a constant challenge for caregivers. Coping mechanisms that are actually realistic for caregivers is a pretty frequent topic of conversation. Here are some of the suggestions that came up recently.

Small treats

After the day I had, tonight it was a glass of wine and later ice cream with a banana and chocolate syrup. I know, not good! But it helped — LOL – Deb

I make a cup of tea when I get home, then snuggle up with my cat & listen to her purr. If that doesn’t work, vodka! – Jen

I am not in a position to take time off. What this means is my brain will not let me rest by staying in a hotel room, or anything like this. It has to be short lived, such as being able to drive on my own to get stuff done, where I decide to stop and watch movie or pick up a treat. After 7 years of living like this, the means to cope with stress have been worked in. No, it doesn’t always work. I have found for myself, I need to give myself permission to fall apart and if it is an off day, so be it. I know, easier said than done. The bathroom with the handicap style shower, with a place to sit and rails, I have set up to have a spa feeling. I have similar relaxing plans for the garden. The porch on the other side is being groomed to be a place to sit and relax, since dad likes to read outside. – Brieya

Spend a few quiet moments in bed before getting up in the morning, using that time to scroll through Facebook and Pinterest. Do a daily morning workout and yoga in my bedroom in the AM while mom is doing YouTube chair yoga in the other room. Listen to some positive Pandora music when showering and getting dressed. Take mom to the park or the beach to soak up some Vitamin D. Read when I have free time. Enjoy an evening walk with my husband and return to a nice glass of red wine. – Paola

I cope with God, wine, and music!!! – Mayra

A nice long drive in my car ? – Naomi

Tomorrow is another day and I will be there to help, no matter what the day brings. Some days I have a glass of wine or a beer before going to bed. – Mary

Play video games on my phone. Seriously. I am so the bomb at Cooking Dash. I’m amazing! – Kim

Yoga. Prayer. Chocolate. – Carol

Lots of prayer, reading posts on FB with encouragement and positive words, get enough sleep, walking several miles every day, take DHA fish oil and Sam-E, listen to music and sing along with the radio. – Sheron

Get lost in a good book, bike on my recumbent bike and sing loudly to favorite songs…and, of course, pray! – Susan

Bubble bath+ buttermint tea! And shopping!? – Jona

I listen to music, talk to one caring friend, go feed my horses–they’re old so it’s all I can do. – Carol

Hobbies

I would LOVE to be able to garden again, but I have become physically disabled due to spinal injury, I can’t do that, so I try and get a little bit accomplished around the house, in addition to caring for hubby, before I mindlessly play solitaire on my phone. – Kathryn

I work outside about an hour a day in my flowerbeds and garden. And I tend to do it when my husband is napping. Therefore I have peace and quiet. – Stephanie

Writing. I hope to one day write a book on my experience as a caregiver. – Sara

Try to go for a run(as if)…try to do sewing for myself or my children…otherwise, go into function mode and get on with what must be done. – Tracey

Gardening! And the occasional shopping trip, on or off-line, and oh yessss the choc-o-lat-tayyy!!! – Wendy

Long hikes in the woods is the best way for me right now. – Penny

Pets

Chocolate and talking to my sweet golden retriever. Unfortunately he’s old and wearing down along with my hubby. I can’t even go there… – Debra

I have not de-stressed well at all since my best friend, my dog Diego died 2 years ago at 16.5 years old. He was my zen. He instantly calmed me. We went for walks and snuggled a lot. I’m a 6 hour drive from my husband and have only been able to see him 2-3 times a year for 4 years now. I’m considering leaving my mother (my whole family agrees) as she isn’t open to any options (move up with my husband and I, assisted living) and my mental health has bottomed out. – Salem

I don’t get to relax – my hair has all but fallen completely out – when I can I go visit with my horses which I haven’t ridden in over a year- and my dog sleeps on my bed with me and knows when I’m overdone. – Rusty

Sleep

I have always used sleep as a way to relieve stress since I was a small child. You could liken this to “freeze” in the fight, flight or freeze adrenal response. It’s harder to get sleep when you’re an adult though. – Jeannine

Real time off

Well after the past 4 years of first taking care of my dad at home until he passed away almost 2 years ago and then taking care of my mom with Alzheimer’s…my therapist suggested if I didn’t take this mere 3 days for just me, I won’t be able to continue at this pace. I really feel like I pushed myself to the edge. And instead of going over the edge I decided to listen to my doctors this time. For the very first time I have reserved a hotel on the beach for 3 days. Where I have instructed my family that during this time….I am not a wife, mother, daughter, caregiver, sister, friend, or anything else. I am disconnecting from my life for 3 glorious days by myself sitting on a beach while watching the waves! – Marianne

I make sure I go away completely by myself for a couple of weekends a year. I find some kind of conference I am interested in a place I would love to see and just go. I do not feel one bit guilty, because I come back refreshed and stronger to deal with life! – Susan


You can read all the responses on our Facebook page.

Written by Allison Powell
I live off of food from Trader Joe's. I spend my life in a cubicle, a la Office Space. I'm kind of obsessed with the internet. Confession: I take care of people but don't identify as a caregiver.

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37 Comments

  1. Church and my rosary.

    Reply
  2. Internet and eating too much.

    Reply
  3. I’m 24/7 taking care of mom, just 2 weekends free every month. While I’m home I crochet, meditate, read and paint. Depends on my mood.

    Reply
  4. I get up early and talk to a friend and meditate and pray. It’s a lonely road.☹️

    Reply
  5. My job is 24/7 as a caregiver, cannot leave my husband and sure cannot afford to pay anyone to come so I can pay them to do the job. I pray often and I go outside when the weather allows and work in my yard.

    Reply
  6. Every morning on my way to work and evening on my way home from work. I pray. It does help.

    Reply
  7. I am on my computer a lot. Talking to my family. And, I like reading all the articles and comments on The Caregiver Space.

    Reply
  8. sometimes you just have too say what you feel. Get it,

    Reply
  9. Plenty of rest…coffee and talk therapy.

    Reply
  10. I used to watch my husband sleeping and remember the man he was and the memories we made. He was always my safe haven even after his stroke. I miss him do much.

    Reply
  11. It is not about coping it is about getting through w/o loss of mind or body. Been in this for so long and I am tired. However I pray often and when it is not 100 outside I take small pleasure in working in my yard.

    Reply
  12. I do the serenity prayer a couple times aday , It really helps clear my head

    Reply
  13. Scream, cry, and talk to myself…then move on and try to find peace for a few minutes of reading, quiet, or music! Thankfully, not everyday and different things trigger but it is what it is!

    Reply
  14. All true….I am at a low in this cycle. May get to recharge later today. Cannot go much longer at this pace.

    Reply
  15. Enjoying nature brings me emotional equilibrium. I love providing food in the bird feeders for the birds in my backyard. My family can enjoy this together as well. Also, working in the yard, planting something, and enjoying the beauty plants give back. Caring for the landscape around my home , pulling weeds out, pruning, cutting back the rewards of such physical work are actually POWERLIFTING.️

    Reply
  16. It will be quiet .when there gone.a awful quiet.god bless all of you.

    Reply
    • It is awfully lonely too. I miss my boy. Blessings to you.

      Reply
  17. You have to take a break.i toke care of my husband and mom.me and my sister.we had to have breaks.but I would do it again
    .I miss them both.

    Reply
  18. When my mom goes to sleep my husband monitors her and I have a break to exercise, do some Zumba video at home…. Thank God for him!!!

    Reply
  19. I need to wash my hair
    And take a shower
    But here I sit
    Enjoying this quiet hour

    I need to put up Meds
    And tidy up the room
    But I cherish this time
    To just be me
    There will be plenty to do
    Very soon

    Right now I float
    In this peaceful place
    My mind has brought me to
    Hard to let go
    there is so much
    I really need to do

    My mind see saws
    Back and forth
    Of insulin shots
    I need to give
    Morning Meds and vitamins
    Probiotics and other stuff
    We need to live

    Soon my hubby will be up
    And need to start his day
    With me assisting him
    In each and every way
    Making sure he doesn’t fall
    While walking to his chair
    Setting all his pillows
    Before he sits down there

    Making oatmeal and
    A nice hot cup of coffee
    Maybe a bottle of water
    In case he starts coughing
    Checking the swelling
    In his ankles
    Every morning
    If they are swelling
    I consider that a warning

    As much as I’d love
    To stay and chat
    Now I must go
    Get the important things done
    Before my energy gets low

    But I love to float
    In this peaceful place
    My mind brings me to
    I see saw back and forth
    So much yet to do

    Theresa Loder

    Reply

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