Reduce Caregiver Stress with Your Smartphone Alarm

Relieve caregiver stress with a simple smartphone alarm - a quick, simple, and free way to remember a calm mantra, favorite quote, or to just breathe

Regular reminders help caregivers reduce stress

While caring for your older adult, you might run into stressful situations, annoyances, and arguments on a regular basis.

One way to reduce caregiving stress and the physical damage it causes is to regularly remind yourself what’s important, to let go of negativity, or to take a brief time-out.

But how can you remember to take moments to de-stress when every day is so hectic? 

We found a simple, fast, and free solution – use the smartphone alarm that’s already at your fingertips.

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

We walk through how to set up simple de-stressing alerts on your smartphone and share suggestions that we’ve found helpful.


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.

For Android smartphones, click here for instructions on how to set up alarms.

reduce caregiver stressTap the plus sign to create a new alarm


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

reduce caregiver stressChoose 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.

reduce caregiver stressTap 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 will show up on your phone’s screen when the alarm goes off.

reduce caregiver stressOur 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.

reduce caregiver stressChoose a relaxing or pleasant sound


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

reduce caregiver stressSave your new alarm


That’s it! Your new alarm will alert you to take a moment to breathe and release tension from your body. Even a tiny break like this can reduce stress and improve health.

reduce caregiver stress
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 helps us think about what we’re grateful for.


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By DailyCaring Editorial Team


This article wasn’t sponsored and doesn’t contain affiliate links. For more information, see How We Make Money.


  • Reply December 15, 2021

    Irene Dockins

    Great idea! I set my alarm(s) hourly during the day to remind me to stand up – I get so involved in projects I can sit for hours without getting up 🙂 I set up my 93 year old Mom’s to do the same and get her up hourly as well. We both laugh and make it a positive thing – we know how bad it is to sit for hours at a time. I put a Christmas song on the alarm for this time of year. It really helps.

    • Reply December 15, 2021


      That’s a wonderful way to use the alarm! And a great way to add laughter and fun to your day 🙂

  • Reply December 15, 2021


    Things are becoming very intense with my mother who has been living in my house for five months, waiting for an apartment. She is often nasty, threatening and seems to be thinking I am in it for her money. My blood pressure is causing concern with my doctor and her behavior is taking a turn, expressing that she wants to call the police. Need some advice on how to handle this.

  • Reply March 21, 2017


    I use my phone to remind me of my caregiving tasks, especially if it will be an overwhelming day. It helps me keep things organized and right on schedule. That way my time is “clean” and I’m aware of the available time when to relax my mind and body.

    • Reply March 21, 2017


      That’s a great tip! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • Reply March 16, 2017

    Carol Paglino

    Thanks, I use my phone alarm for when it’s time for meds. My husband takes several different kinds throughout the day. That is beyond helpful for us. No forgetting! I did not know I could change the alarm sound. That’s next. Thanks for all your helpful tips during a difficult time for both of us.

    • Reply March 16, 2017


      I’m so glad to hear that these tips are helpful! I hope you enjoy the new alarm sounds and that the gentle reminders help you take a moment to breathe and relax. You’ve got a lot to manage with all the medications and caregiving in general. Big hugs!

  • Reply September 22, 2015

    Peter Kang

    This is an interesting idea to help manage caregiver stress! Who would’ve thought it’d be so easy to set up something like this. What would you recommend to professional caregivers who need to de-stress from a long day at work?

    • Reply September 22, 2015

      Connie Chow

      Hi Peter,
      Thanks for your comment! It’s true that professional caregivers feel the negative effects of caregiver stress as well. The job is very similar, just without the family dynamics and emotional baggage. I think professional caregivers will get the same benefit from taking a quick breather. It will reduce frustrations or stress they’re feeling, which is good for their client and keep the caregiver healthier at the same time.

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