Did you ever play a game as a child (ok, maybe even as an adult….) where you close your eyes and spin around and around and around? When you try and put your feet back on the ground, you end up flopping all over the place, standing still becomes tricky.
And so it goes in the life of a family caregiver. One day, one more bit of news comes through and the balance within you fails. Try as you might, ‘tilt’ happens, and trying to get rebalanced can be difficult. You desperately want to hibernate, but your loved one depends on you, your family is asking questions, central heating in the house goes out in the prime of winter…..you get the general drift. So now what?
You can become less concerned with negative thoughts and worries through Mindfulness. It has become more of a mainstream topic/ tool in today’s crazy world and allows you to be more present. It is so easy to get caught up in the rush of things, we all do it, but it creates burnout.
The definition of Mindfulness; ‘Focusing on the present moment while calmly accepting one’s feelings and thoughts as a therapeutic technique.’ Being in the present moment isn’t always easy, but it’s powerful. Mindfully pay attention to what you realistically can and cannot do without playing an adult version of the ‘spin’ game I spoke about.
Here are points to think about:
1) Silently fuming about what someone has said or is/isn’t doing is a fuse waiting to ignite. You can’t control other peoples behavior, but you can manage your own. Step away before responding in a manner that ultimately hurts you and your loved one. Stop. Think about what may be happening and find a way to talk about it.
2) Loading up your to-do list is a chemistry experiment waiting to explode. Remember the see-saw from childhood? Up and down and up and down until it unexpectedly tips and the other person flies off. You are not a superhero. You can’t do it all. Please stop trying to think that you can and ask for help. Make a list of your to-do’s, do them mindfully and not haphazardly.
3) This last one can be gut-wrenching; Speak your truth. Pull back, ‘think’ about what is happening, remove any negative energy and in a calm forthright manner….speak your truth. If you don’t, at some point, it’s going to come flying out with negative energy, and no one wins.
There are mindfulness tools that can help with all of this. Do a little research, practice the tips I’ve offered and try our short guided meditations on the Breathing Spaces website. These are easy techniques teaching you how to find focus, strength, and energy throughout your day. I have used these for years, never thought I’d do anything like that but they are SO powerful.
Stop. Breathe. Remove the mind chatter.
“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world,
we lose connection with one another - and ourselves.”