It is a clear known fact that CAREgiver burnout is real, and can lead to feeling overwhelmed, overworked, undernourished, and emotionally exhausted. It is equally clear that the regular practice of self-care replenishes the spirit and helps prevent burnout. But many self-care practices take time and resources that most of us just don’t have.
Well, be encouraged! Research abounds that self-care practices can work even when they are very brief. What matters most is a regular practice, so create a practice that works for you. Many find it helpful to practice short exercises after breakfast, after lunch, and right before bed. Here are some exercises you might find helpful:
Martin Boroson’s book One-Moment Meditation, tells us that it only takes a minute to reduce your stress and refresh your mind. Don’t know how to meditate, watch this brief video so he can teach you HERE. He even offers a One-Moment Meditation App to keep you motivated and help you build a regular practice– click HERE for details.
Set your timer on your phone, then touch your toes and touch the sky, or march in place, or stretch. Any movement counts, but keep it simple so you get it done. Donna Eden, the author of Energy Medicine, provides suggestions for creating an energized nervous system in her Daily Energy Routine, watch her brief video HERE.
3-Minute Deep Breathing Exercises
Sit comfortably, or lay flat on your back. Place your hand on your stomach, just below your ribcage. Inhale deeply, through your nose, notice your stomach lifting your hand. Hold the breath if you like, for as long as you like, then exhale slowly, through puckered lips like your pushing the air through a straw. Repeat slowly, no more than ten minutes, or stop if you feel lightheaded. You may also find these other breathing tips useful, click HERE.
5-Minute Visualization Exercises
Research tells us we can imagine many things, and create very similar benefits to actually doing the thing we image. So take a trip, for three to five minutes, and test the theory! Using a photo from an actual trip or a magazine clip of beautiful destination, see yourself in that location. Eyes open or closed, see the day, smell the environment, listen to the birds and sounds from nature, feel the land or sand under your feet. Stay there until your alarm sounds. For more about the power of visualization, click HERE.
5-Minute Coloring Exercises
There is abundant evidence that adding coloring to your self-care practice is a worthwhile investment. Akin to meditation, coloring increases focus, mental clarity, presence, and a regular practice can reduce anxiety. Adult coloring books are all the rage, you can pick them up and put them down as often as you like, motivated toward the inevitable finished masterpiece as your own personal reward. Learn more about the science of coloring HERE.