Caregiving can be a super stressful job. Every day is different and every new challenge seems to require a new approach. And just when you think you have it all under control, something happens: you get a cold, you find yourself arguing with a friend or a customer service agent, your loved one receives a new diagnosis.

And there you are, wondering just how you are going to manage this on top of everything else.

These seven tips that I have learned through years of caregiving and assisting in Bellewood can help you find a moment of zen so you can dive back into the situation and move things forward.

1. Just breathe.

Taking a moment to breathe consciously and deeply can help you center, and the slower and deeper the breaths are, the better.

Consider these technique:

  • Rest the tip of your tongue on the ridge behind your front teeth and keep it their throughout the breathing exercise.
  • Breathe in through your nose for four seconds.
  • Hold your breath for seven seconds.
  • Exhale through your mouth for 8 seconds, making sure your tongue is in the same place where you started, and repeat at least 4 times.

2. Decide not to decide.

When you are at your wit’s end, even the smallest decisions can be overwhelming. Coming to a decision may help, but sometimes simply facing the decision may just seem impossible. And what is most important is that you know that it is okay to take your time.

Consider this tip:

  • Put the decision on a shelf for a moment. Even if the decision requires a sense of urgency, you almost always have an hour where you can press the pause button. Don’t think about the decision. Instead, distract yourself, sit with yourself, basically do anything but dwell in the decision. In many cases, giving yourself a little grace and space is just what you needed.

3. Enjoy a cup of hot tea.

One of the many wonderful things about tea – apart from that the fact that it’s warm and soothing, has no calories, and delivers antioxidants (in white and green forms, especially) is that it forces you to sip it slowly. Taking things slowly is critical when your stress level is high. Plus you can enjoy it in a beautiful teacup!

If you don’t like tea, maybe it is time to give it another try. There are so many options! You can find apple cider flavors, pumpkin spice varieties and even inspiring ones, like Good Hope Vanilla!

4. Connect with your community.

Whether you have 5 or 500 Facebook friends by now, it is time to call on them for support! Let them know that you could use a funny joke or a friendly word. After all, what are “friends” for?

5. Make yourself a doctor’s appointment.

Most caregivers find themselves managing everyone else’s medical appointments, except theirs. So, when was the last time you went?

If you are under the weather, you need to do everything in your power to get healthy. If you are a little stressed, then you are at risk for getting sick. And if you are stressed to the max…

6. Consider a change of scenery.

Sometimes just changing your view can really change your perspective. Consider taking a short walk outside and taking in the view. You may be surprised how such a small thing can have such a big impact.

7. Never underestimate the power of a little chocolate.

Now this isn’t something to indulge in all the time, but when you are at the end of your rope, and you feel like it is fraying fast-you deserve a little chocolate. That little bit of sweetness, that little reward… well, it can just make everything a little bit better.