Tools for Caring for Yourself
Some of the ways you can do that include:
- Write the date on every entry.
- Using complete sentences and worrying about grammar are not necessary.
- Jot down your thoughts and feelings as they come to you. Write freely and openly.
- When you reread entries (whether immediately or later) do not edit them. If you want to add notes or comments to prior entries, use another color ink or pencil so you can see how you have changed over time. Also add the date of your additions.
- Make your entries as regularly as possible. Daily entries will enable you to track and process your experience more completely.
- Journaling can be very important to you. Don’t feel pressured by others to let them read your journal unless you want to share it.
*Adapted from the American Art Therapy Association
Music therapy interventions can be specifically designed to promote wellness, manage stress, express emotions and improve communications.
The body’s instinctive reaction to stressful situations is to become tense, and relaxing that tension can go a long way toward alleviating the impact of stress on the body, even if you can’t avoid the situation.
Listed below are a few relaxation techniques you can use nearly any time stress presents itself:
- Deep breathing: Whenever you feel stressed, ask yourself, “What is my breathing doing? Where am I feeling tension in my body?” Close your eyes and turn your focus inward, and consciously take long, deep, slow breaths. As you inhale, visualize how each breath is filling you with calm; as you exhale, imagine and feel the stress leaving your body. Repeat for at least 10 breaths.
- Deep Relaxation: Lie down on a comfortable surface and cover yourself with a light, natural fabric, such as a shawl. Put your arms down at your sides, palms relaxed and facing upward. Close your eyes. Let your legs relax and fall slightly outward; relax your lips, tongue, jaw and face muscles. Allow your body to feel as if it’s sinking toward the floor. Mentally scan your body, starting with your feet and moving upward. Focus on your breathing: on inhalation, visualize your breath bringing in light and energy. On exhalation, feel the tension leaving your body. If your mind begins to wander, bring your focus back to your breathing. Continue for at least five minutes.
- Meditation: One common belief is that you must not think during meditation, but thoughts will naturally occur while you meditate. You can train yourself to pick certain thoughts to pay attention to, while allowing the rest to just pass through. The elements of meditation include:
- Posture: You should sit on a chair or the floor, keeping the spine straight.
- Breath: Breathe deeply and consciously.
- Mental focus: Focus on a spot, such as the tip of the nose or a point midway between the brows and middle of the forehead. Many meditations focus on a silent or chanted mantra.
What is Respite Care?
Respite care is a service where caregivers can find help in taking care of the patient. This service can be provided by another family member or by trained professionals. The goal of respite care is to provide short-term care for your loved one from a few hours to a few days, giving you some time away from caregiving.
- In-home respite care is temporary care provided in the patient’s or caregiver’s home. This allows the family and patient to be comfortable and saves them from having to adjust to a new environment. Home-based respite care programs are usually provided through a nursing agency.
- Out-of-home respite care programs provide the opportunity for the family or caregivers to leave the patient in the trust of a care facility such as nursing home, hospital or assisted living center.