Admittedly, “caregiver downtime” might sound a little like an oxymoron. After all, who is busier than a caregiver? But, think about, how much time do you spend while caring for your aging relative just sitting around while waiting for a doctor’s appointment or while they nap or even after they go to bed at night?
If you think about it, caregivers sometimes have more downtime than they would like. Some days can even get boring. Using that downtime to do things you enjoy can make being a caregiver less boring and stressful and more enjoyable. Below are some ideas for ways you can use caregiver downtime to your advantage.
#1: Read a Book
Reading a book is a great way to spend that 10 to 20 minutes you’re sitting in a waiting room. Books are easily transportable. You can stick one in your bag or just download an e-book to your smartphone. All those little bits of time can add up to let you read the latest bestseller or book club selection. As an added benefit, losing yourself in a book for a while lets you forget about the difficulties of being a caregiver or whatever else is worrying you for a little while.
#2: Do Crafts
If you’re the creative sort, you can spend your downtime making crafts. If you knit or crochet, you can bring it with you to medical appointments and get in a few stitches while you wait. Caregivers who spend the nights at the older adult’s home may want to set up a small crafting station there, so they don’t have to drag supplies back and forth or spend a lot of time getting them out.
Many caregivers neglect their own health because they are focused on the needs of the older adult. Instead of spending your downtime sitting around, consider spending it getting in some exercise to protect and improve your health. While the senior is sleeping, turn on the television and march in place while you watch it. Or, pull out a yoga mat and do some stretches.
#4: Catch Up on Social Media
While you’re waiting around, pull out your smartphone and catch up with friends and family on social media. Take some time to scroll through your Facebook feed and see what’s new. Enjoy some silly memes. Share a joke or funny story with a friend.
#5: Invite a Friend to Visit
There’s nothing wrong with having a friend visit you while you’re caring for your aging relative. In fact, the older adult might also enjoy the company. Ask a friend to come over for a cup of coffee or to watch a movie with you after the senior goes to bed.