Posted on Apr 23, 2015
As caregivers, it is important to take time for yourself, but finding that time is often difficult.
For many caregivers, it is enough to juggle work, family, and giving themselves enough time in the day to remember to eat, let alone take hours to be alone and do what they want for themselves. Many caregivers offer the advice to take time for yourself when you can get it- get a manicure, read a book, pick up a new hobby- but what do you do when finding the time for these activities takes more energy than it’s worth?
Harvard, among other universities, have found that taking just twenty minutes to yourself in daily meditation can have tremendous impacts on your physical health. It can help lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and the occurrence of heart disease while improving your immune system, and enhances physical response to chronic diseases such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis.
Because expecting yourself to meditate for twenty minutes everyday is probably a lofty, if not impossible goal. Twenty minutes of relaxing meditation can easily turn into a power nap if you have not trained your body to respond to the resting state.
Senior Helpers of Moraga offers these few steps to helping our caregivers or family members caring for loved ones tips to begin meditation in order to make the time you are giving more effective. Practice these tips for just a few months and track the progress you make along with the effects.
Start small. Give yourself one or two minutes of mindlessness. When you arrive at a client or loved one’s home, give yourself one minute with the car turned off, the radio and other distracting noises away, and close your eyes.
Focus on your breathing. Notice the air coming in your nose, and out of your mouth, and that with every breath in you are filling your body with energy, and every breath out you are forcing out all of the negative or tired thoughts you have.
Work up. As you become better at this exercises, work up to spending five to ten minutes in a more secluded spot, away from a space where usually responsibilities fill. Make sure it is place you feel comfortable and can rest worry free. If you are meeting a client or loved one for a walk (perhaps at the Lafayette Reservoir), give yourself a few minutes on the walking trail to sit either on a bench or in the shade of a tree to rest yourself comfortably.
Tune Out. Try to ignore outside sounds. If you are meditating somewhere with distractions, focus on listening to the sounds you hear, and slowly paying them less and less attention, until they are simply mumbles or background static.
Practice. The mindlessness more effectively by allowing all thoughts to flow freely. If a thought comes to your mind, positive or negative, let it come, but let it pass through you and exit as you breathe out. Do not let thoughts dwell too long in your head.