By Kristin Glasure, FAIRHOPE President and CEO

At this point in our article series, it is abundantly clear that caregiving is stressful. And, if you have been a caregiver, you know that is true. As a caregiver, you also likely have people encouraging you to take care of yourself and relax. As well-intentioned as they are, the thought of finding time and ways to relax can simply add to the stress of a busy caregiver. We are here to provide you with some ideas to help you incorporate relaxation in your schedule.

Working these relaxing techniques into your schedule does not have to be a huge time commitment. Sometimes it is as simple as pausing to take a few deep breaths. The following are eight simple relaxation techniques you can try this week.


  1. Music – Music is easily accessible, whether you take five minutes and listen to your favorite songs or choose meditation or calming music. YouTube is a good resource for different categories of music and guided meditation. Researchers at Stanford University found that “listening to music seems to be able to change brain functioning to the same extent as medication.” They note that music is something that almost anybody can access which makes it an easy stress-reduction tool.
  2. Positive Visualization – Creating a clear mental picture can give you the confidence, motivation and courage you need to make the most of your day – even the difficult ones. Positive visualization can include affirmations, vision boards, being in your happy place, drawing your goals, meditation, success mapping, etc. Click here to read more information about positive visualization.
  3. Breathing Exercises – Yes, just breathing can help you manage stress. Slowing your breathing helps you calm down. The next time you feel the stress bubbling up, take a couple of minutes to do some breathing exercises. WebMD has a few different breathing exercises that are easy to follow. Click here for more directions.
  4. Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) – PMR exercises help reduce stress and anxiety by having you slowly tense and then relax each muscle. To see how this can work, watch this video:
  5. Reading – Grab your favorite book and read for 30 minutes. Reading can relax your body by lowering your heart rate and easing tension in your muscles. A 2009 study at the University of Sussex found that reading can reduce stress by up to 68%. Click here to read more from National Alliance on Mental Health.
  6. Journaling – Writing in a diary or journaling helps you express thoughts and emotions, which can reduce your stress and anxiety. For more information from Purdue University, click here.
  7. Create Mindfulness Moments (CMM) – CMM is a type of meditation in which you focus on being deeply aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment this helps relax the body and mind and reduces stress. For more information from The Mayo Clinic, click here.
  8. Prayer – Prayer can create a relaxation response which lowers blood pressure and other factors heightened by stress. According to a study at the Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing at the University of Minnesota, prayer can also release control to something greater than oneself, which can reduce the stress of needing to be in charge. Click here for more information.

We hope you’ve found a couple of ideas you can use to relax and reduce stress. Be sure to look for our next article in the series, which will focus on the use of physical activity.