Stress can bring on those junk food cravings, and sometimes it’s easier to microwave a frozen meal instead of going through the trouble of cooking. And you know what? Sometimes that’s okay. But every once in a while, consider quick and easy snacks that are actually good for you, like bananas, apples, berries, baby carrots or cucumber slices.
Consider incorporating more vegetables into your meals. Did you know that it only takes about five minutes to steam broccoli? And boy is it delicious with a sprinkling of cheddar, salt and pepper. And would it really take that long to throw some spinach or zucchini in your pasta?
For inspiration, check out these healthy dinner recipes in 40 minutes or less.
2. Get out and get moving
Regular exercise reduces your risk of depression and even helps you sleep better. According to the CDC, research has shown that doing aerobic or a mix of aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities 3 to 5 times a week for 30 to 60 minutes can result in improved mental health.
Getting outside can help remind us that life is more than just work and sleep. Motivate yourself to get some fresh air and take advantage of the calming effects of Nature.
Paying attention to your breathing has a special way of calming your mind. Studies have revealed that mindfulness meditation can help ease psychological stresses like anxiety, depression and pain.
There are many ways to meditate. How to practice mindfulness meditation from Psychology Today provides instructions on how to begin your practice.
For further reading, check out this article from Harvard Medical School: Mindfulness Meditation may ease anxiety, mental stress
4. Take a break
When was the last time you took a break? It may be difficult to separate from the loved one you care for, but consider letting someone else take over for a few days. Do you like to travel? Is there somewhere new you’ve been craving to visit? Even a brief weekend getaway can refresh your mind and body.
Do you prefer to relax at home? Consider enjoying some much-needed me-time on the couch. Giving yourself a break can simply mean letting someone else take care of dinner, or allowing yourself to binge on your favorite TV show or a good novel for the evening.
5. Pamper yourself
Give yourself permission to relax. Soaking in a hot bath does wonders to alleviate tension. Try scented bath salts for aromatherapy, like lavender to wind down before bed. Better yet, make a trip to the spa. Give yourself a manicure. Soothe your skin with scented lotion. Your body and mind are deeply connected; care for one and you will care for the other.
6. Join a community
Sharing with others can give you the support you need. Caregiver.com can help you find a local support group in your area. If there are currently no support groups near you, consider joining an online community. There are thousands of caregivers out there who are struggling with similar difficulties as you are.
There are also many online resources that offer help and instructions for providing personal care for an aging loved one. Please visit our Links and Resources page for more information.
7. Ask for Help
This simple option is sometimes the last one we consider. Talk to a friend. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with someone you trust can be a simple way to feel better. Ask a family member to share in some of the responsibilities that come with caregiving.
Consider seeing a therapist. A professional therapist can offer you the best tools and techniques for reducing the stress in your life.
Talk to us. If you’re worried about how to pay for nursing home costs, there’s a good chance we can help. Visit our Medicaid Planning page for more information. If you’re concerned about your loved one’s declining mental health, you may want to learn more about Guardianships and Power of Attorney. There are many ways that legal solutions can provide peace of mind. Please contact us with any questions you may have about these services.
Share with us! Tell us how you unwind and de-stress in the comments section below.