As important as the job of caregiving is for your loved ones, it’s equally as important for you to take care of yourself.
Because of the stress that can come with being a caregiver, relaxation is a big part of that self-care. That’s why Hope Grows offers a respite for caregivers, giving them a peaceful oasis where they can recharge their energy and replenish their spirit.
Why is relaxation so important, especially for someone with a stressful occupation? The following covers some of the issues around relaxation, and the benefits of simply taking time to unwind and refresh.
Not Being Lazy
Many people do not wish to take a break because they feel as if that’s a sign of weakness. Perhaps they were raised to be hard workers and are just used to putting in long days. However, many studies now show that taking time to relax – gardening, going for walk, simply resting – actually helps you be more productive when you are working. Your brain continues to be just as active, processing everything and ridding you of accumulated anxieties and worries.
Working Things Out
A simple task such as gardening liberates the mind to subconsciously work out whatever challenges you might be dealing within your job as a caregiver. Seem farfetched? It’s not.
A 2006 study at the University of Amsterdam proved it. Subjects were shown four cars and asked to pick the best car. One group got to review the specs on the cars and deliberate at length. The others had time to think about it, but were purposefully distracted and not allowed to focus only on the car issue. The latter group made the best decisions.
Researchers concluded that with the right kind of distraction – something peaceful and routine – people’s subconscious brain can make a better decision than deliberately thinking about it constantly.
As long as you take a break that is positive, then any break from your routine can relax the mind and restore your spirit. The human body and mind was not meant to work hard 24/7/365, according to psychotherapist Barton Goldsmith. The idea is to pick an activity that gives you a break from your routine. Goldsmith wrote that you actually do yourself, and those around you, more good by giving yourself a break than by constantly trying to get things done.
Many might be familiar with the idea that one person can’t take on all the burdens of someone else. Butm science shows it’s actually true. Many studies have shown that those who work without a break, trying to solve all the issues of a given situation, will eventually “run out of gas.” The reason? The brain only has so much cognitive power, according to a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. The more you use it to make decisions, the less cognitive power it has. Until you take time off to replenish it.
All of this simply backs up a notion most people already have – you need to take time to relax. Doing so will rejuvenate your brain and body, and that’s an important thing, especially for caregivers.