Compassionate Caregiving: Unplug from your daily routine


Laura Nissen PHOTO CREDIT: TH file


PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed


Laura Nissen PHOTO CREDIT: TH file


PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

If I told you that I could write a prescription for you that would positively impact everything in your life, would you take it?

It would improve your health, creativity, sleep, relationships, increase mood, lower blood pressure and stress, increase your energy levels, boost your brain power, promote a healthy heart, promote positive emotional growth and increase your mindfulness.

The prescription is: Unplug from your daily routine from time to time.

That is it. It is as simple as that.

As a caregiver, I know that you want to be productive 365 days per year. While that can be good in some ways, your brain and spirit simply don’t work that way.

Here are three simple suggestions to get started:

Spend time outdoors. Richard Davidson, professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison said that being in green space for as little as 10 minutes has a demonstrable effect on the brain. Go for a 10-minute walk and you will feel rejuvenated. Go on a picnic. Sit around a campfire.

Mix things up. Slow down. Play a game. Try a hobby. Read a good book. Make a new meal. Watch a movie. The important thing is to try something unexpected. In other words, take a break and play like you used to do when you were a kid.

Create new memories. Try something that you have always wanted to do. Go to a museum. Go to a new restaurant. Go to a musical event. The bottom line is to seek something unexpected to create a new memory.

With the evidence that taking breaks and mixing up your routine is good for you, get started. Know that by unplugging from your regular routine that you are plugging into better health and well-being. It is a great way to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Enjoy every moment of play. You are such a committed and hardworking caregiver. Both you and your loved one deserve a break for fun and rest.

Laura Nissen is an Alzheimer’s Association volunteer who advocates for those with memory disorders. She works with families to help them learn the skills of caregiving. She also serves as a community educator, caregiver support group leader and Memory Café leader for the Alzheimer’s Association.

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