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Break Time for Caregivers

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 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.

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 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.

Color Yourself Calm

With thousands of different design themes, it’s no wonder that adult coloring books are the latest craze. Whether your taste runs to intricate florals, animals real or fanciful, or the straight lines of a cityscape, these books offer the chance to escape without leaving your loved one alone. Bonus: Coloring is a great way to relieve stress and works like meditation.

Get Sweaty

Biking, power walking, yoga, or t’ai chi will relax and invigorate you.

Rediscover Your Passion

Get going on that scrapbook project you put on hold, try out some new recipes, or dig out your knitting needles. Carve out some personal 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, helps calm your mind and muscles.

Take a Nap

A simple snooze might be the reboot you need. To avoid feeling 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. Find a few minutes to escape with tabloid magazines, a silly iPad app, listening to show tunes, or doing sudoku.

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