Time for self-care is hard to come by for family caregivers. Caring for an aging family member is a huge responsibility, and usually it’s added onto an already-busy life of jobs, kids, and chores.
When you do find time for self-care, taking advantage of it is a must. Whether it’s 30 minutes or five minutes, those moments are a chance to put care back into yourself.
Meditation for Caregivers
When you need a quick way to settle your mind, try meditation. Meditation reduces stress and negative thinking. That helps you cope with challenging situations now and reduces your risk of disease in the future.
Meditation can be done in as little as five minutes, although longer meditations are beneficial. Try these beginner meditations when you have five minutes or less and these guided meditations when you have a little more time.
Bonus: Meditation for Seniors
Meditation has incredible valuable for the elderly as well. Mindfulness meditation helps people cope with chronic illness by easing stress, depression, and pain. Meditation may even help with sleep and digestion.
Yoga for Caregivers
You also need to work movement into your days as a caregiver. Yes, you move when you help your loved one around the house, cook, clean, and everything else you do in a day. But while those movements use your body, they don’t nurture it.
Yoga builds strength and flexibility and helps you relax your muscles to relieve physical discomfort. It’s both physical activity and physical restoration. If you’re new to yoga, try a beginner’s class. As you get comfortable with the poses, increase your practice by adding at-home sessions. You can find yoga videos for all levels online. You’ll need space and equipment for your home practice, but a home gym for yoga doesn’t require much more than comfortable flooring and a mat.
If you have at least an hour to spend on self-care, turn your yoga practice into an extended self-care session. Before getting on the mat, treat yourself to a spa session with a facial treatment, hot tea, relaxing music, and anything else that soothes you. This little self-care session before practice clears your mind so you’re able to focus on breath and form, making for a safer, more impactful yoga practice.
Bonus: Yoga for Seniors
Seniors can practice yoga too! Your senior loved one will reap the same benefits as you when they practice yoga, plus improvements to their range of motion and balance. Seniors with better mobility can try a gentle yoga practice. Chair yoga is an option for seniors who need to practice while seated.
Why Self-Care Is Essential
A meditation or yoga flow may seem like one more thing to add to your already hectic days. However, you shouldn’t view self-care as a luxury. When caregivers don’t pay attention to their own needs, both their health and the well-being of their loved ones suffer. Some caregivers experience a burnout that leaves them unable to care for their loved one and strains their personal relationships, careers, and mental well-being. The more you neglect self-care, the higher your risk of burning out.
Thankfully, yoga and meditation don’t demand a lot from you. You don’t need to devote hours out of your day or radically change your lifestyle to benefit from these healing practices. With just a few minutes each day, you can come as you are and leave feeling restored.
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