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Five Quick Pick-Me-Ups for Caregiver Stress

Five Quick Pick-Me-Ups for Caregiver StressThis article is an edited version of the original written by Paula Spencer Scott, Senior Health Writer at Caring.com. For the full article, go to their website: Caring.com

1. Read something funny.

Laughter has been shown to trigger the relaxation response, lower heart rate and blood pressure, and even boost the immune system and ease pain. It might seem corny to dive into a comic book collection, a joke book, or a few minutes of America’s Funniest Home Videos, but the effects are real.

2. Crank the volume.

Music therapy is often used to calm or stimulate dementia patients, but it can have similar effects on anyone. Playing music with a strong beat has an energizing effect. Melodic orchestral or acoustic tunes can improve thinking and focus. To get the full pick-me-up effect, raise the volume so that the music fills the room.

3. Take a power nap.

Ten minutes of shut-eye might not sound like much, but it can be enough to feel restorative, especially if you’ve had a disrupted night’s sleep. Midafternoon rest, when the body clock is at a natural lull, is thought to be especially productive.

4. Pump a little iron.

Lifting free weights tones your arms and strengthens your bones – but those are long-term extras on top of the energy boost this simple (and not too sweaty) workout provides. If you’ve never used a handheld weight, start with two – or three-pound dumbbells. Lift the weights in sets of 8 to 10 slow repetitions, increasing the amount of the weight over time.

5. Write a letter.

Simmering resentment, anger, or frustration can sap energy. Psychologists sometimes use this tool to help people let go of energy-blocking ruminations. Write a letter to yourself or your loved one. Put in everything you’re feeling. The act of putting your true emotions down on paper (or in an e-mail you don’t send) helps your body release them, just the way you feel better after confiding in a friend. Then, when you’re done, rip up the pages or delete that e-mail.

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