November is National Family Caregivers Month and this year’s theme is “Caregiving Around the Clock.” Yes, caregiving is indeed a 24/7, tough job. Most feel unappreciated because the focus is on the one being cared for, and much of caregiving may be unpaid.
But it is vital to do self-care, because when you are exhausted, depressed, or angry, the quality of care being given will be greatly affected. Hence, the need for mental health breaks!
Here are five fairly easy and quick breaks to do for yourself, so the caring won’t be as difficult, your disposition will be brighter, and you get recharged and rejuvenated!
1. Listen to music that soothes you – some prefer meditative music, some want that loud, pounding music, while others like music with lyrics they can sing to, or gospel music. Whatever it is that calms you, put on your earphones and listen to it. A five or ten-minute music break will be helpful.
2. Take a nap! – when the one you’re caring for is asleep or napping, do not look for another task to do. Take that much needed 10-20 minute nap. Then you can do those other tasks after you need to do. That restorative sleep you just took will make you feel more alert.
3. Snack on fruits – in case you are not aware, fruits have all the vitamins, nutrients, and fibers needed to support your physical and mental health. Berries, bananas, apples, or any local fruit in season will perk you up. Try it!
4. How about a walk? – when possible, stand, stretch, and take a short walk. Walking is a great way to improve overall health. Ideally, 30 minutes of walking each day increases cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones and boosts muscle power. Or do 10 minutes of walking three times a day. While you’re at it, put on your earphones and do #1 too
5. Play Games for a Healthier Mind – any kind of games should be a welcome break when faced with stress or when you need a change of pace. Card games or board games with the one you are caring for may be fun.
When that is not possible, and you need to be alone for something different to do, try Neeuro’s Memorie, a collection of mobile games that help train the different cognitive functions of our brains. These fun and engaging digital mental exercises seek to enhance cognitive skills in attention, memory, decision-making, spatial awareness and cognitive flexibility. Paired with the Neeuro SenzeBand, the metrics in the games track your brain activity while training. Memorie games have levels of difficulty to challenge your mental abilities, with the analytics giving you the opportunity to achieve a healthier mind. Taking this type of mental health break will help you recharge and be set for another round of caregiving duties!
Once you have given yourself any of these well-deserved mental health, self-care breaks, your capacity to care for others will be better and definitely be much more bearable. Knowing the challenges you face each day makes us appreciate you more. So to all the caregivers, you do wonderful work, and we thank you! Go ahead, take a mental health break now!