10 Summer Mini-Vacations for Caregivers Who Can't Get Away

Dorian Martin | Jul 2nd 2014

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While summer is the traditional time for vacations, caregivers often can’t really get away for a weekend out of town, much less a two-week trip. However, there are ways to pack in a mini-vacation without travelling. Here are 10 ideas for ways that you can get a break mentally while staying in place, thus allowing you to return to your caregiving duties mentally refreshed.

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Get a massage

Massages come multiple forms. There’s a chair massage, a foot massage or a full-body massage. Then there’s a variety of types, ranging from deep tissue to the Raindrop Technique. It doesn’t matter which kind you get, you’ll find yourself more in tune with your body at the end. And if you’re like me, you’ll slip away mentally while the therapist works on you.

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Spend time outdoors

Summer is a great time to enjoy nature’s bounty. It’s really rejuvenating to go sit in a park or hike a trail. Explore the different flowers that are blooming and watch as bees, butterflies and hummingbirds seek their nectar. Keep an eye out for a dragonfly darting about. Listen for different bird calls. In the evenings, listen for toads and cicadas calling out. Return home refreshed!

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Get rid of unwanted mail

While this doesn’t necessarily seem like it should be on this list, I’ve found it’s really nice to lower the amount of clutter that comes into the house. PaperKarma, a phone app, makes this task really enjoyable. Basically, you use the app to take a picture of an unwanted piece of spam mail and then upload it. PaperKarma then contacts the company to take you off the mailing list.

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Go to a dark park

I’m biased, but my terrier always makes me laugh. The only thing that’s better is taking her to the dog park to play with other dogs. It’s fun to watch the dogs engage in a game of chase over a thrown ball. And while there, I get to visit with other dog owners about their pups. Even if you don’t own a dog, going to a dog park can be a happy diversion from caregiving.

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Get a new summer scent

Recently, I’ve been consumed with an elder’s serious health issues. During a break, I stopped at a store and asked for samples of potential summer scents. I’ve found that inhaling one of those perfumes actually transports me to another time when life was a lot simpler. Needless to say, I bought a bottle of this perfume and am using it regularly.

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Go geocaching

Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunt using GPS. It’s great because there are geocaches all over the place, including parks, parking lots, historical homes, lakes and community points of interest. You can find them while walking, biking, kayaking or just driving around town. Finding them can help you away from your caregiving worries and into the present. Go to geocaching.com to learn more.

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Channel the past

Returning to activities that you enjoyed when you were younger can relieve stress. For instance, I recently returned to needlepointing (which I started doing when I was a teenager) and have found that the repetitive creativity that’s involved is great for taking my mind off of caregiving. So think about a hobby you once enjoyed and rediscover it!

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Try out a new restaurant

You may not be able to physically travel, but you can enjoy a vicarious trip through trying different restaurants in your community, especially those that feature different cuisines than you normally eat. Try Mediterranean, Korean, Indian or Central American food. Looking at a new menu and trying new flavors will transport you away from your concerns.

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Embrace your creativity

Try something new, whether it’s a recipe, a new type of music, knitting, bird-watching or a different exercise class. Take a lesson at a crafts store or watch a YouTube video to learn how to do something totally new. Get out of your comfort zone and you’ll at the very least get a new experience (and a bit of mental time away from caregiving). And you may just find a new passion!

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Take yourself out to the theatre

While going to a movie theater is always fun, try taking yourself to a live performance. There are a lot of community theaters putting on summer shows. These performances often are comedies, musicals or other light-hearted fare. And watching a live performance can be really engrossing, thus helping you to leave your worries behind for a couple of hours.