My last blog post Spring Break for Caregivers took a look at some easy access ways to have fun. Caregivers are often overloaded with a variety of tasks and other caregiving responsibilities that make it difficult to take a break - even a brief one - from the duties at hand.
With the uplifting changes in weather we can begin again to consider taking that fun outdoors where the sun’s warmth and the fresh air can have healing effects on our bodies and our minds. Here are some easy-to-do ideas you can put into place as time allows.
- Farmers’ markets: These offer fresh, local produce and other goodies, including vinegars, soaps, breads and flowers. A walk-through will remind you of the natural bounty that is available. It will also perk up your spirit because it’s hard to be downcast when strolling from booth to booth. To add a sense of adventure, treat yourself to lunch (or a snack) at the market. Let yourself be surprised by what is available and sample something new.
- Grow your own: Plant a simple early garden of just a few vegetables or herbs in containers that are easy to maintain. Watching tomatoes blossom into plump perfect-for-sandwich sizes is very rewarding. Also, actively participating in the journey from seedling to harvest is rewarding for many reasons: 1) you get to see the fruits of your labor (no pun intended) and 2) being close to Mother Nature can be very soothing.
- Play: Find some games you can play outdoors. A deck of cards in the back yard or cloud watching while in the park help to reduce stress because these activities allow you to focus upon something else beside your ‘to-do’ list. See how many cloud shapes you can describe.
- Antique fairs: Spend a few hours at nearby vintage markets rummaging through shoe boxes of sepia-toned post cards or other yesteryear memorabilia. You will see how far society has come with its inventions and ideas of beauty and fashion. This peek into the past at the treasures of others can have the ability to reduce – at least temporarily - present day concerns. For an extra spark, pick a certain decade in time and see how many items from that era you can discover.
Be creative. There are many more ways to get outside and smell the roses. And there are just as many reasons to do so. Replenishing yourself makes you a better-balanced person and that translates into more effective caregiving.
J. Dietrich Stroeh is author of Three Months: A Caregiving Journey from Heartbreak to Healing (2012 FolkHeart Press). For more information, visit www.threemonthsbook.com.