Today’s guest post is from Roger Sims, the resident medical supplies expert at locostmedical.com.
The broad definition of a caregiver is any family member or paid helper who looks after a sick, elderly, or disabled person on a regular basis. Sometimes when we hear the word “caregiver,” we associate it with paid home health-care workers, but, in reality, there are millions of unpaid, unofficial caregivers who are usually family or close friends.
In fact, in the U.S., there are more than 43 million people who provide unpaid care to someone in their life and could be using their own home care medical supplies.
This statistic is more likely to increase than decrease, as more and more people want to live in their homes, when chronically ill, and may lack the resources they need to pay for outside care.
Meditation helps to ease the stress and tension you build up when looking after your loved one. This beneficial Eastern practice has been proven to positively impact mental, spiritual, emotional and even physical health.
Meditation not only combats stress, but can also contribute to a more positive outlook and increase energy levels; plus, it can improve the quality of life, physical health, and well-being.
Below are some types of meditation and other useful tips.
- Mindfulness Meditation — Mindfulness meditation is an adaptation of traditional Buddhist meditation. The Buddhist version of mindfulness meditation is concerned with both the mindfulness of breathing and insight. Mindfulness is the art of being completely in the moment, aware of your surroundings, perceptions, and emotions. Meditating at this level doesn’t happen immediately, as this is a form of meditation that needs to be practiced and done on a regular basis. People meditate in this way in order to grasp the infinite wisdom that is often buried deep in our consciousness. If this form of meditation appeals to you, you should find out how to practice mindful meditation.
- Loving-Kindness Meditation — Adapted from Buddhist meditation, loving-kindness meditation is a method of developing compassion. The Buddhist term for it is “Metta Bhavana.” It is practiced in order to attain a greater understanding of the notion of unconditional love. This is very useful for unofficial caregivers who might struggle with the daily tolls of providing care. Sometimes, the care provided isn’t appreciated as much as it should be, and, at times like this, it’s difficult to love unconditionally. Taking the time out to practice loving-kindness meditation could alleviate the anger by reminding the caregiver why they do what they do.
- The Five-Minute Unfrazzle Meditation — It’s common to feel frazzled when you’re a caregiver. Based on mindfulness meditation, but much easier to comprehend, this one only takes five minutes. It’s important to remember that you deserve free time. Caregivers often go above and beyond, when it comes to helping other people, but treat themselves as an afterthought. The better you take care of yourself, the better you can take care of others. You can do this simple meditation anywhere—even sitting in the car, if you like.
More Great Ways to Relax
- Take a Day Off — Even if you don’t feel good about taking a true-blue vacation day, you can turn one of your caregiver sessions into a fun-filled day when you choose instead to do something fun with your time, like taking your patient out for a special meal or to visit a local museum or attraction. Taking your mind off of things every now and then is a great way to counteract stress.
- Open Up — Whether it’s sitting down with a close friend for a cup of coffee and a frank discussion or a visit to your counselor, taking the time to explore your feelings can help guide you toward positive changes that can improve your overall happiness in difficult situations. Find at least one person who’s willing to listen, and entrust them with your concerns, making sure to stay open-minded to advise.
- Exercise — For many practitioners of meditation, yoga is the ultimate way to reach a clear mind during meditation. Even if you skip the meditation part altogether, practicing some quiet stretching can do wonders if you just feel like you need to clear your head. Hard-hitting aerobic workouts—jogging, hitting the elliptical, or taking a dance class, for example—are an excellent way to help calm the mind.
- Treat Yourself — As you’re focusing on your mental wellbeing, it’s important to keep on top of your physical health, too. Let’s face it: Being a caregiver can be very physically straining. Give yourself the ultimate relaxing treat, like a massage or a day at the spa, to help restore your physical and emotional vitality!
Meditation and other stress-relievers are an effective way for caregivers to reduce anxiety, pressure, and worry because they remind us that no matter how busy life seems to be, everyone deserves a few minutes to unwind and relax. The positive consequences of meditation can have a ripple effect, and you’ll probably find that you have more energy and motivation than ever before. Moreover, your caregiving could drastically improve because of your renewed mind, so why not give it a try?
Roger Sims is the resident medical supplies expert at locostmedical.com, a company that carries products for home caregiving needs.