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


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About Allison Powell

Profile photo of Allison PowellI 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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