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Taking a time-out when caring for a loved one can feel selfish, but the truth is, you’re actually helping yourself and your loved one by carving out personal time. In fact, patients who were involved in respite care—short-term relief from caregiving—had fewer behavior problems and slept better at night than those whose caretakers did not take an occasional break, according to a recent study in the Journals of Gerontology. Plus, caregivers who utilized respite care were less stressed and happier overall.
And now, with the holidays fast approaching (and the stress, responsibilities and activities that get rolled into this time of the year), there is no better time to give the gift of a break to yourself. Consider respite services from a home care agency such as VNSNY’s affiliate, Partners in Care, or line up a friend or family member to take over for a few hours so you have some much-needed time to refresh, re-power and relax. Need inspiration? Here you go.
Meet up with a friend: Grab a cup of coffee, do some holiday shopping, take in a movie, whatever activity you choose, doing it with someone who can make you laugh and smile is time well spent.
Take a walk: Whether in nature or through a museum, silent strolling can be the pause button your mind needs.
Get sweaty: Biking, power walking, yoga, tai chi—all of these will relax and invigorate you.
Rediscover your hobby: Get going on that scrapbook project you put on hold, bake your holiday cookies or try out some new recipes, dig out your knitting needles. Carve out some time for the things you used to love to do.
Soak the stress away: A warm bath, especially one with Epsom salt and a few drops of essential oil, like sleep-inducing lavender, help calm your mind and muscles.
Take a nap: A simple snooze might be the reboot you need. As not to feel groggy when you wake up (and to ensure nighttime sleepiness), shoot for a 20-minute nap about eight hours before your bedtime.
Indulge in a so-called time-waster: Caregivers are used to being “on” all of the time, so one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is to succumb to a guilty pleasure daily, like 30 minutes with tabloid magazines, a silly iPad app, listening to show tunes or doing sudoku.
To find out how VNSNY can help you care for your family member, please call 1-800-675-0391.