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  • Writer's pictureBeth Gibbs

Ways to Take A Caregiver Break

As a caregiver you are facing your responsibilities and challenges in difficult times. One of those challenges is to find and embrace ways to enhance your self-care routine. You often hear advice about how important this is but I’m guessing you also find yourself feeling too stressed out and impatient to think about ways to fit self-care into your schedule.

Impatience is usually triggered when we want to accomplish something and suddenly realize that it’s going to require more energy, time and work than we thought. Impatience can leave us feeling annoyed, anxious, agitated, and frustrated.

When managing a busy care giving schedule and every item on your ‘to do’ list seems

insurmountable you may feel the weight of the world on your shoulders. In times like this it can be difficult find time to fit in personal self-care.

We all experience times when we are impatient, stressed out and super busy but with a little

awareness it’s always possible to take mini self-care breaks. Carving out 2 – 5 minutes during a busy day is a practical way to do this. Here are a few easy accessible yoga based suggestions.

Quick Mind/Body Tune Up For Caregivers

Stretch in bed when you wake up in the morning or from a nap — if you’re fortunate enough to find time to take one!

  1. Roll your wrists and ankles in little circles in one direction and then in the other.

  2. Inhale and contract all the muscles of the lower body, Exhale.

  3. Inhale and make fists of the hands, tightening all the muscles of the upper body and face, head and neck. Exhale.

  4. Inhale as you roll your head toward your left shoulder. Exhale.

  5. Inhale and roll your head toward your right shoulder. Exhale.

  6. Repeat three times or more if you are comfortable.

Standing Balance

While waiting for meals to warm up on the stove or in the microwave, hold onto the counter with one hand while you balance on one leg at a time for about 30 seconds per leg. Note: For more of a challenge, practice with your eyes closed.

  1. Stand by your counter and hold on with one hand.

  2. Stand on your right foot, bend your left knee and raise your left foot to the back.

  3. Hold this position for: 30 seconds. Lower your foot.

  4. Stand on your left foot, bend your right knee and raise your right foot to the back.

  5. Hold this position for: 30 seconds. Lower your foot.

4:4 Breathing

If you find yourself stuck in traffic, standing in line at the grocery store or waiting in a doctor’s

office, try 4:4 Breathing to help you calm your nervous system.

  1. Inhale to your own personal four-count saying silently to yourself, “Inhale, two, three, four.”

  2. Exhale saying silently to yourself, “Exhale, two, three, four.”

  3. Repeat and continue for 2-3 minutes or longer if you are comfortable.

Shake It Off

If you find yourself in a mid-afternoon 3:00pm energy crash, skip the coffee or the soda and try Shake It Off to energize your body, increase oxygen levels in the bloodstream, stimulate your nervous system, and help with mental focus.

  1. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart.

  2. Bend your knees slightly and begin to shake your legs.

  3. Next shake your wrists, and move the shaking up your arms to your shoulders.

  4. Invite your head to join the party if that feels comfortable.

  5. Feel free to raise your arms or bend forward or backward.

  6. Shake your body for two – five minutes.

  7. When done, simply stand, or sit, quietly and feel the effects of this self-care break.

These words from author, Eleanor Brown sum up the importance of self-care. "Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel."


Beth Gibbs, M.A, C-IAYT, is an author, speaker, yoga teacher and self-awareness trainer. She has published a personal growth book for adults titled, Enlighten Up! Finding Clarity, Contentment and Resilience in a Complicated World and a children’s book, Ogi Bogi, The Elephant Yogi. She blogs at

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