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Let your smartphone be your friend. Assign it simple tasks such as reminders to take time for yourself — to breathe or stretch!  

Regular reminders help caregivers reduce stress
As a caregiver, it’s too easy to get caught up in daily tasks and forget to take care of yourself. While helping your older adult, you probably run into stressful situations, annoyances, and arguments on a regular basis.

There’s a surprisingly simple way to reduce this caregiving stress and the physical damage it causes — regularly remind yourself what’s important, why you should let go of negativity, or to take a brief time-out.

Simple technology helps caregivers
But how do you remember to take a moment for yourself in the middle of your hectic day? We found a solution using a simple technology tool that most of us already have at our fingertips.

Your smartphone is your de-stressing buddy
The alarm function on your smartphone can be used to help you remember to take much-needed moments for yourself. All it takes is a one-time setup of recurring alarm reminders with calming or inspirational phrases.

When you set these alarms up to repeat every day, they’ll automatically go off each day. Even though you dismiss the alarm when it goes off, it will still pop up at the same time the next day.

How to set up recurring reminders on your iPhone
On your iPhone, open the Clock app and make sure you’re on the “Alarm” tab at the bottom. Then, tap the plus button in the upper right corner to set up a new reminder.

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Tap the plus sign to create a new alarm

Next, choose a time of day, then select “Repeat” in the menu below the time selection.

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Choose and save your new alarm’s settings
on this screen

In the Repeat screen, choose the days you want this alarm to be active. We chose to have this alarm repeat every day of the week.

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Tap each day to select. The checkmark
means it’s selected.

After choosing when the alarm should repeat, tap “Back” to save your Repeat days and go back to the Alarm settings screen. Then, select “Label” to enter your relaxing or inspirational phrase. This phrase shows up on your phone’s screen with the alarm goes off.

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Our reminder is “Close your eyes and
take 10 deep breaths.”

Now, tap “Back” to save your Label and go back to the Alarm settings screen. Next, select “Sound” to make the alarm sound a gentle, soothing one rather than an unpleasant blare. We like the Harp sound.

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The harp sound is relaxing and pleasant

The last (and most important) step is to save the new alarm you’ve created. Tap “Save” in the upper right corner.

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Save your new alarm

You’re all set! Your new alarm will alert you to take a moment to breathe and let the tension flow out of your body. Even a little break like this reduces stress and improves health.

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Our alarm in action

Set multiple alarms throughout the day

You can set up as many alarms as you’d like throughout the day. In the morning, we like getting the day started on a positive note with an inspirational saying or quote. Our mid-day reminder reminds us to breathe and relax. At the end of the day, the reminder help us think about what we’re grateful for.

Bottom line
Using your smartphone alarm to remind yourself to breathe, relax, or think about an inspiring quote is an effective way for caregivers to reduce stress and improve health.

By Connie Chow, Contributing Writer and Founder of DailyCaring
Image: iGroove Radio
Photo of Connie Chow, founder of DailyCaring

 

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