Calm In The Storm: Relaxation Techniques for Caregivers
There are many ways to relax,
but often caregiver's don't have the luxury of time for long breaks, vacations, or other 'escapes.' So how does a caregiver take time to relax in the middle of their crazy, busy lives? How does a caregiver find "calm in the storm?"
Several techniques are listed below, and no doubt this content will continue to expand. Please look at the sections on the Relaxation Techniques for Caregivers page as well.
See "Aromatherapy" page!
MEDITATION - Meditation is a proven method for relaxation of the mind and body. Meditation does not need to be tied to any particular religion, but you can use meditation to focus on your spiritual beliefs, in stillness, as if listening for the answers to your prayers and holding space for that connection with the Divine to fill you. If you are not practicing a religion or spiritual tradition, or would like to try something else, you can try visualizing yourself connected to Everything - sending your awareness out beyond yourself through your imagination, to connect you to all of nature - even the whole universe!
Meditation can focus on breathing, visualizations, body awareness and conscious relaxation, on moment to moment awareness while doing an activity such as walking, dancing or playing a musical instrument; there are many ways to meditate! Below are several meditation exercises to get you started.
Relaxation Techniques: Essential for Reducing Stress - Mayo Clinc
Visual Vacations as meditation
MOVEMENT/EXERCISE: We have all heard, over and over, about how good and necessary exercise is, and how it can help reduce our stress. What about helping us to relax?
Exercise can rejuvenate as well as destress your body.Taking a walk is an amazing way to do both! If you incorporate "mindfulness" by being aware of each step and the sensations around you - the sights, sounds, how your body feels, the breeze and temperature, the scent in the air, etc. - you will be doing a "walking meditation" in addition to getting some good exercise.
Another method of relaxing can be to use deep breathing in combination with movement and music. This can be anything from dancing in the kitchen to your favorite music in order to release tension in your body and create a relaxed and rejuvenated state, or putting on mellow music and using deep breathing and gentle, fluid motions (knee bends with arm movements, ballet type movement or "modern dance" moves - just freestyle while concentrating on the experience of moving your body to the sound).
Even "traditional" exercise like resistance training can relax you if you don't overdo it. A "floor exercise" routine can also free tension from your body, including Pilates and general fitness exercises.
TENSION RELEASE EXERCISE: place your palms together in front of you with your elbows out (like the classic "prayer" pose). Press your palms against each other (this is an isometric exercise - one that uses your own strength for resistance training). Now take a deep abdominal breath and exhale firmly. Breathe three times this way while pressing your hands together and then release. (This is great for a hospital room when you are limited in your ability to exercise and move around!) You can add more intensity by going into a squat position by bending your knees as if you were going to sit in a chair. You can hold that for all three breaths, or go down into the squat when you breathe in, and come back up when you breathe out.
YOGA: Finally, yoga is the perfect exercise to incorporate both physical movement, breath work, tension release, muscle strengthening and relaxation. Get moving and watch the tension melt away!
Tap Into The Many Health Benefits of Yoga
Here is an hour long beginning yoga video from YogaToday - it is a very good introduction to yoga. It is long, so feel free to take it a little bit at a time if you are interested in experiencing yoga, but want to do so gently.* Try full screen. There are several other yoga offerings at the end from YogaToday if you want more challenge or something different.
(*Disclaimer: We are not in any way affiliated with YogaToday or their advertisers, nor are we promoting any philosophy related to yoga. We just like the video! Enjoy!! Please notice the health and safety information at the beginning of the video. TCC asks you to talk with your doctor before starting any exercise or fitness program. We are not responsible for the content of the video, the views that may be expressed in it, or how you choose to use it. )
Yoga For The Novice - YogaToday Video Tutorial
Finding time for yourself can also help reduce your stress level, even if its a small amount of time. When you can add in a hobby or some self-care time, you feel more in control of your life and situation. Nurture Your Life: Seven Steps to Including Yourself In Your Life will walk you through the process of doing this for yourself.
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