Notice: Undefined index: header_file in /home/x5y0il31qg5e/public_html/page.php on line 61

5 minute self-care for busy caregivers

Carmen Buck | 7 Minute Read

“Carmen, I have a hard time hearing, ‘You need to take better care of yourself’ when I’m already feeling overwhelmed,” my patients would say. At this point, I would put down my papers or laptop, take a deep breath, and confess, “I get it. We all struggle with this.” I would point out the various ways professional caregivers fail big time at self-care also. Classes and books for nurses are devoted to self-care. As a nurse practitioner working with family caregivers and those with dementia, self-care became imperative. I’ve tried a variety of methods, and the ones I could do in just a few minutes were the best given. The ones requiring more time simply didn’t get done.


Seek Harmony

Caregivers, especially caregivers for those with dementia have the unique opportunity to find a way to balance out the things which MUST be done and those things which can wait. It’s the first big step to self-care. By the way, balance is an unattainable goal because everything can’t be a priority all the time. Instead, seek HARMONY.

Imagine a song with the main melody and the accompanying harmony. The key is to tend to the main priorities (melodies) in our life and add in the all-important harmony. The melody is sometimes fast, slow, loud or soft, and the harmony follows along to keep it beautiful. For instance, today is bath day. It can be a challenge. You see your mother is enjoying the music playing, and she starts humming along. The melody here is bath day. The harmony is how you take the music into the bathroom with you, and hum along with her or maybe sing out loud while assisting with bathing.

 

5 MINUTE SELF CARE


Many caregivers are overtasked. The unexpected happens, our ‘plan’ is altered and we’re left to constantly catch up. Can you relate? Family caregivers for those with dementia know every day is new and different. This is one more reason 5-minute remedies are so wonderful!

In 5 minutes or less:

  • Get paper, pen, and highlighter.
  • Make a simple list of what you MUST do daily. These are the things which you as a caregiver MUST absolutely do. This might be meal prep, feeding, bathing and so on.
  • Is there anything on your list which is not a MUST DO? These are the things which can wait and life will go on, and if it gets done tomorrow all will still be well. Highlight them.
  • Are there any things you can delegate? If there are, please do so. It could save your life. Successful caregivers are good at the art of delegation.
  • Now, consider this: is there a 5-minute interval for you to have for yourself? Are there 2 or maybe 3 of these in a day? The answer is yes, of course. It is a priority and a MUST DO daily.
  • On your MUST DO list, write in at least 3 five minute breaks for yourself. You must love yourself before you can love someone else. It is non-negotiable time for you.


How to Spend Your 5 Minute Break
You might think 5-minutes is not going to matter. Oh, but it does! So much energy can be generated in a simple 5-minute break.

Attitude of Gratitude: Before you get out of bed, consider 3 things you are grateful for. They can be simple- your warm bed, hot shower or they can be grand. There is no right or wrong. A sense of gratitude changes everything. Another option: Say Thank You three times: Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.
Simple Journaling
Get yourself a nice journal, notebook or whatever you might like to write in. Pretty journals might be worth the investment if you are like me and feel good writing in it. There are many ways to journal. There is some added value to writing by hand versus type, however, if you prefer to type, keep a computer journal. Remember, this is for you. It won’t be shared with anyone else unless you want it to. Here are a few starters. Choose which feels best to you.

  • Answer specific questions such as ‘what are you most grateful for today?’ ‘What was the best thing that has happened today?’ ‘What are you looking forward to?’ The questions are good if you feel panic when you look down at a blank piece of paper.
  • Make a list of funny or special things your loved ones say to you.
  • Write an affirmation for yourself. “I am capable of loving myself enough to find peace with all circumstances” is one of my favorites. Again do a simple google search.
  • Write down a new quote daily. There are several websites with tons of quotes. Find something new to inspire yourself daily. Write something about it. Do a simple google search for quotes.
  • Write down small wins. Make it easy. Small wins are just that- small, wonderful things we might otherwise take for granted.

Box Breathing

Box Breathing is an easy and fast but oh so helpful. Box breathing is a technique used in taking slow, deep breaths and can be beneficial for anyone who is able to follow the directions. Box breathing can heighten performance and concentration and also relieve stress. I’ve started using it regularly including first thing in the morning and anytime I start to feel my shoulder or neck muscles. It’s simple and takes less than a minute!
 

  1. Sit upright and exhale deeply so you feel like your lungs are empty. While doing this, commit yourself and avoid multi-tasking. Every caregiver will know exactly what I’m talking about! This minute is for YOU.
  2. Inhale slowly while counting to 4. If 4 seems like too much, then count for 2 or 3. Your lungs should feel full by the time your count is over.
  3. Hold your breath for another slow count of 4.
  4. Exhale slowly through your mouth for another slow count of 4. Be aware of the feel of the air moving in and out of your body.
  5. Hold again for another slow count of 4.
  6. You're done or you can do it again. I really feel it in my body when I do this 3 times.


What's Next?
Try some of the self-care measures and decide which ones suit you best. You might do better with a different option tomorrow. No problem! Self-care methods are meant to lower your feelings of anxiety and be fun. Find what works for you.

It's hard to argue against the experience virtual reality can offer. But in terms of functioning as an everyday, household technology, VR has a long way to go. Statista notes that an estimated five million devices will be sold worldwide in 2018. Stacked up against the world's seven billion-strong population, that's not exactly bringing VR toe to toe with smartphones, which are projected to number six billion by 2020, according to CNBC.

Creating a Shared, User-Directed Experience

A static VR experience-one that offers immersive video but little to no interaction-won’t do much to stoke the interests of your audience. Recently, a choose-your-own adventure approach has become much more common when designing VR experiences. Even if the cost of building out these varied paths can be pricey, organizations are increasingly discovering that the cost of production is balanced out by the value created when users are given agency to control the flow of that experience.

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU

How to Challenge Unrealistic Content Marketing Expectations-Without Backing Down on Its Effectiveness
Content Marketers, It's Our Obligation to Fact-Check Content
How to Balance SEO Strategy with Brand Storytelling
How to Balance SEO Strategy with Brand Storytelling
How to Balance SEO Strategy with Brand Storytelling

Jonathan Crowl specializes in digital marketing and content creation for both B2B and B2C brands, with an emphasis on startups and technology. His past and current clients include B2B brands IBM, LinkedIn, Mad Mobile, Oktopost, BrightSpot, and Waze, as well as B2C brands Porsche, Epson, and PayPal. He lives in Minneapolis.

SEE MORE FROM JONATHAN

5 minute self-care for busy caregivers

Carmen Buck April 5, 2018

Caregiver & Parents > Self-Care

harmony-banner

“Carmen, I have a hard time hearing, ‘You need to take better care of yourself’ when I’m already feeling overwhelmed,” my patients would say. At this point, I would put down my papers or laptop, take a deep breath, and confess, “I get it. We all struggle with this.” I would point out the various ways professional caregivers fail big time at self-care also. Classes and books for nurses are devoted to self-care. As a nurse practitioner working with family caregivers and those with dementia, self-care became imperative. I’ve tried a variety of methods, and the ones I could do in just a few minutes were the best given. The ones requiring more time simply didn’t get done.


Seek Harmony

Caregivers, especially caregivers for those with dementia have the unique opportunity to find a way to balance out the things which MUST be done and those things which can wait. It’s the first big step to self-care. By the way, balance is an unattainable goal because everything can’t be a priority all the time. Instead, seek HARMONY.

Imagine a song with the main melody and the accompanying harmony. The key is to tend to the main priorities (melodies) in our life and add in the all-important harmony. The melody is sometimes fast, slow, loud or soft, and the harmony follows along to keep it beautiful. For instance, today is bath day. It can be a challenge. You see your mother is enjoying the music playing, and she starts humming along. The melody here is bath day. The harmony is how you take the music into the bathroom with you, and hum along with her or maybe sing out loud while assisting with bathing.

 

5 MINUTE SELF CARE


Many caregivers are overtasked. The unexpected happens, our ‘plan’ is altered and we’re left to constantly catch up. Can you relate? Family caregivers for those with dementia know every day is new and different. This is one more reason 5-minute remedies are so wonderful!

In 5 minutes or less:

  • Get paper, pen, and highlighter.
  • Make a simple list of what you MUST do daily. These are the things which you as a caregiver MUST absolutely do. This might be meal prep, feeding, bathing and so on.
  • Is there anything on your list which is not a MUST DO? These are the things which can wait and life will go on, and if it gets done tomorrow all will still be well. Highlight them.
  • Are there any things you can delegate? If there are, please do so. It could save your life. Successful caregivers are good at the art of delegation.
  • Now, consider this: is there a 5-minute interval for you to have for yourself? Are there 2 or maybe 3 of these in a day? The answer is yes, of course. It is a priority and a MUST DO daily.
  • On your MUST DO list, write in at least 3 five minute breaks for yourself. You must love yourself before you can love someone else. It is non-negotiable time for you.


How to Spend Your 5 Minute Break
You might think 5-minutes is not going to matter. Oh, but it does! So much energy can be generated in a simple 5-minute break.

Attitude of Gratitude: Before you get out of bed, consider 3 things you are grateful for. They can be simple- your warm bed, hot shower or they can be grand. There is no right or wrong. A sense of gratitude changes everything. Another option: Say Thank You three times: Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.
Simple Journaling
Get yourself a nice journal, notebook or whatever you might like to write in. Pretty journals might be worth the investment if you are like me and feel good writing in it. There are many ways to journal. There is some added value to writing by hand versus type, however, if you prefer to type, keep a computer journal. Remember, this is for you. It won’t be shared with anyone else unless you want it to. Here are a few starters. Choose which feels best to you.

  • Answer specific questions such as ‘what are you most grateful for today?’ ‘What was the best thing that has happened today?’ ‘What are you looking forward to?’ The questions are good if you feel panic when you look down at a blank piece of paper.
  • Make a list of funny or special things your loved ones say to you.
  • Write an affirmation for yourself. “I am capable of loving myself enough to find peace with all circumstances” is one of my favorites. Again do a simple google search.
  • Write down a new quote daily. There are several websites with tons of quotes. Find something new to inspire yourself daily. Write something about it. Do a simple google search for quotes.
  • Write down small wins. Make it easy. Small wins are just that- small, wonderful things we might otherwise take for granted.

Box Breathing

Box Breathing is an easy and fast but oh so helpful. Box breathing is a technique used in taking slow, deep breaths and can be beneficial for anyone who is able to follow the directions. Box breathing can heighten performance and concentration and also relieve stress. I’ve started using it regularly including first thing in the morning and anytime I start to feel my shoulder or neck muscles. It’s simple and takes less than a minute!
 

  1. Sit upright and exhale deeply so you feel like your lungs are empty. While doing this, commit yourself and avoid multi-tasking. Every caregiver will know exactly what I’m talking about! This minute is for YOU.
  2. Inhale slowly while counting to 4. If 4 seems like too much, then count for 2 or 3. Your lungs should feel full by the time your count is over.
  3. Hold your breath for another slow count of 4.
  4. Exhale slowly through your mouth for another slow count of 4. Be aware of the feel of the air moving in and out of your body.
  5. Hold again for another slow count of 4.
  6. You're done or you can do it again. I really feel it in my body when I do this 3 times.


What's Next?
Try some of the self-care measures and decide which ones suit you best. You might do better with a different option tomorrow. No problem! Self-care methods are meant to lower your feelings of anxiety and be fun. Find what works for you.