Providing care for an aging loved one can cause an increase in stress, but seniors can be impacted by stress as well. Too much stress can result in some serious mental and physical health issues, so how can you stop the cycle in your life? Many caregivers and seniors have started to turn to meditation and yoga to bring the calm they so desperately need. If you could use a little more relaxation in your life, here are some key points to keep in mind.
Committing to Daily Practice Can Help Reduce Stress
Meditation and yoga can lessen stress, but only if you are willing to practice on a regular basis. You should aim to make meditation part of your daily routine, even if it’s only for a few minutes a day, and try to practice yoga a few times a week. Many beginners choose to start with classes, but one of the most effective ways to get a little yoga and meditation into your daily habits is to create a dedicated space in your home. Setting up a meditation room can serve as a very positive motivator to practicing on a regular basis. Both yoga and meditation require concentration, so look for a space in your home that is free of noise and distractions. Pick up some mats and cushions to provide comfort, and add decor to help you feel at ease. It’s also important to keep your meditation space organized. Clutter can cause stress, so if you have too much in your new meditation space, it can be more difficult for your mind to relax.
Getting Started Can Be Easier Than You Think
Even though meditation and yoga are tools that help seniors and their caregivers relax, knowing how to begin can be intimidating. An internet search can bring up all sorts of complicated poses and social media posts when it comes to yoga. In reality, yoga is for everyone, not just for people with superhuman flexibility. If you choose to begin by taking a class, you can find one suited to your fitness level and comfort, or you can check out tutorials and videos online to get started at home. Even if your loved one, or you, has limited mobility, you can modify poses to get the most out of your practice. You can even do yoga from a wheelchair with the right mindset and modifications. Meditation can take some practice and modification as well, but there are plenty of smartphone apps that will guide you through each breath and session. Try a few out to find an app and style that helps you feel calm, focused, and clear-minded.
Finding Your Practice Can Help You Find Peace in Life
Practicing yoga and meditation on a regular basis can benefit caregivers and seniors by reducing stress levels and enhancing physical fitness. However, the most impactful result of your practice is likely to happen on a much deeper level. Many adults who practice meditation find that it brings unparalleled feelings of peace into their life. In your own practice, you may find your perceptions changing, your feelings of connection growing, and your ability to take on life’s challenges stronger than ever before. Embrace these changes, and embrace coming to a more mindful and present place in life. That’s especially helpful for caregivers who may be dealing with an immense level of stress and responsibility, as well as seniors who are struggling with a disability or simply trying to come to terms with their new way of life.
The relationship between a caregiver and a senior family member can be a complicated one, but stress is the one thing every person seems to have in common. To alleviate the high stress seniors and caregivers feel, self-care practices are essential, and there is no more effective self-care than meditation and yoga. It’s the simplest way to relieve your tension and bring much-needed peace into your lives, so try starting your practice now.
Harry Cline is creator of NewCaregiver.org and author of the upcoming book, "The A-Z Home Care Handbook: Health Management How-To's for Senior Caregivers." As a retired nursing home administrator, father of three, and caregiver to his ninety-year-old uncle, Harry knows how challenging and rewarding caregiving can be. He also understands that caregiving is often overwhelming for those just starting out. He created his website and is writing his new book to offer new caregivers everywhere help and support.