Of the one in three American adults who care for another adult, about 40% suffer from burnout, characterized by a state of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion.
It is important for caregivers to control stress and burnout, not only for the good and safety of the older person you are caring for, but also for your overall health.
Although I am not yet caring for an elderly person, as a single mother I care for my three young children (one of whom is a toddler) and as such I have learned the importance of taking time to relieve stress and keep your feet on the ground. With a range of proven products, I can focus on my health and reduce stress which can become toxic if not addressed quickly. As a caregiver of an elderly person, it is essential that you do your research and test different methods and products that can provide you with the same kind of relief.
If you have a stressed neck or shoulder (like me), this device is a must-have in your home. This hammock fits most doors and doorknobs and provides spinal cord stretching and decompression, which increases blood and oxygen flow to the neck and shoulder muscles, decreases pain and increases mobility. Plus, it even comes with a carrying case and a free sleep mask.
This neck and shoulder relaxer requires no assembly or setup – just lay it on the floor! Made of dense (yet soft) foam, its wide base and ergonomic design allow you to rest your neck in its cradle to soothe stiffness and restore proper cervical curvature.
A newer addition to the world of massage and stretching, yoga wheels have grown in popularity over the past few years. As the name suggests, this “wheel” provides rolling, stretching and decompression for the spine. Durable and slip-resistant, it’s 100% PBC-free, supports up to 500 pounds, and is available in four densities.
Resistance bands are an important tool in a caregiver’s toolbox for several reasons. They increase mobility and provide assistance when stretching. They also strengthen stabilizing muscles (muscles heavily used in healing) and provide an easy way to introduce strength training into your routine.
Made of natural latex rubber, these thick bands come in a variety of widths and resistance levels for many uses and fitness levels. The odorless latex offers strong resistance, and five band widths and different resistance levels allow for multiple uses and types of activities.
Offered in five different resistance levels in the same width, these lightweight latex resistance bands are a great option if smaller bands cause you discomfort.
Trigger point and massage therapy
This is by far my favorite method of relieving stress and finding comfort after a long stressful day. My closet, my work bag and my office are full of products from this category.
Trigger Point Therapy works by identifying and working to release tension in trigger points (tight muscle bands within a muscle group) to improve mobility, increase blood flow, reduce pain and improve muscle performance. The physical fatigue and emotional stress of caregiving often leads to trigger points throughout the body, most commonly in the shoulders, lower back, hamstrings, calves, and IT band.
Increasingly popular, this style of open core roller offers a little more flexibility with an added massaging effect thanks to a foam coating around the outside. Available in 11 colors/styles, this roller is suitable for all fitness levels and preferences.
This roller is designed specifically to reduce pain in the back and shins. Its patented shape and small design fits snugly along the spine for a deeper back muscle massage and works well on the shin muscles to relieve pain caused by shin splints. Available in three colors, it also won Editor’s Choice from Runner’s World magazine.
42 Birds offers sustainable and eco-friendly yoga products made from sustainably harvested cork. Beyond the environmental benefits, the company’s unique offerings, such as rubber-free mats, are thicker than most (which I appreciate in my practice), antimicrobial, and extremely durable. I particularly appreciate the density and the lightness of the yoga balls. Cork has a little more flexibility than other yoga balls I’ve used, and the larger size provides less targeted pressure for sore trigger points. A small reflexology ball for your feet and face is also included!
This unique cork massage roller features special ridges that connect to trigger points in a deeper and more effective way than traditional smooth rollers. The dense cork is durable and retains its shape after repeated use.
Extra bonus: 42 Birds give back The initiatives reflect its environmental mission, supporting the 1% for the Planet initiative which helps fund the World Wide Fund for Nature, the Cork Forest Conservation Alliance and the National Audubon Society. Plus, they’re offering: $20 off $200 and 10% off for joining the 42 Birds mailing list.
If you suffer from foot pain, trigger point therapy can be a good treatment for yourself at the end of a long day on your feet. In my experience, this is a personal choice based on comfort and effectiveness, so browse the options online to choose a product that’s best for you.
By far, one of my favorite investments in my own health has been in the R8 massager. I was introduced to this product by my massage therapist years ago and after a session with it, bought my own. Its revolutionary design incorporates an integrated spring configuration, stainless steel fasteners, ball bearings and soft touch handles.
Although it may look like a modern torture device, it has relieved me of tremendous pain and tightness over the years due to its easy to use design and the fact that I can apply as much or as little pressure that I need without having to contort my body into awkward positions on a foam roller. I can get the relief I need while sitting on the couch or even in bed.
I would be remiss not to mention the thermotherapy tools, alternating between hot and cold to soothe sore or tired muscles and promote recovery. Using one or the other (or even both) has different applications and benefits for pain relief, reducing downtime after injury, reducing inflammation and general self-soothing and stress relief.
TheraICE Rx Compression Sleeve provides immediate relief whether you need heat or cooling therapy. This cuff is ideal as it can be worn while doing other activities, stays in place and provides gentle compression, which is essential in the healing process. I found a lot of relief using the Wrist Ice Pack after straining my wrist from carrying my toddler incorrectly a few months ago. Adjustable according to the different areas of the body (knee, elbow, thigh, ankle…), this sleeve cools quickly in less than two hours in the freezer and heats up in less than a minute in the microwave.
The journey to wellness is personal and only you can take it. It took me years to compile the right mix of tools, products and practices, and it changes regularly. Ultimately, it’s about finding what makes you happy and lowers your stress levels so you can continue to provide the best care for your loved one.