Relaxation Techniques for Caregivers

Relaxation exercises are a good way for caregivers to keep themselves composed when they undergo distress. The Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA) prescribes 6 really helpful relaxation techniques that caregivers can use to remain positive and calm. Let’s explore these techniques to see how caregivers can ensure their mental well-being in times of stress.

1. What are relaxation techniques?

 Caregivers are often on-the-run since they may be trying to balance their roles as caregivers along with their regular roles in their workplace, families, peer groups, and society. A common emotional response to this stress may include being overwhelmed or feeling helpless in the situation. Relaxation exercises have proved to be a good way to reduce stress and have a positive effect on a caregiver’s health.

 The exercises have the most benefit when they are incorporated into the daily or weekly routines of caregivers since that ensures that they have a period in their day in which they have time completely devoted to themselves. Practicing these relaxation techniques would take around 10-20 minutes a day, and can also be practiced while waiting in line at a grocery store or while waiting for a doctor’s appointment.

 Ideally, a safe place should be chosen to relax, where the caregiver can have some privacy and is not distracted by any noise in the environment. The best relaxation exercises are the ones that give comfort to the caregiver and do not cause any pain. During or after the exercise, some caregivers may have a lot of thoughts that arise and may want to keep a journal nearby to record all those thoughts.

It is crucial for caregivers to realize the importance of taking time out for themselves so that they can cope better with the demands of their social roles. This will not only maintain their mental strength but keep them full of sangfroid in times of distress.

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2. Deep Breathing for Relaxation

Breathing deeply is a quick and efficient way to relax. Deep breathing is the most effective when done from the abdomen to get a lot of fresh air into the abdomen and lungs.

Ideally, deep breathing can be incorporated as an exercise in meditation and other techniques of mindfulness such as body scans. This can be carried out in a closed room with minimal noise distractions, where the caregiver can have space and time devoted completely to themselves. However, in times of distress, when caregivers are busy and always ready to spring into action, deep breathing as a relaxation exercise can be incorporated into daily tasks such as while sitting in the backseat of a car or can be practiced for 10 minutes before sleeping at night.

Deep breathing can be paired with an awareness of the rise and fall of the abdomen and mindfulness about any movements that may happen in the body. One may notice that there may occur muscle constrictions and relaxations as one breathes, but overall the stillness of the body is what relaxes. The main purpose is to take control of the breathing process and breathe deeply in an organized manner.

By practicing relaxation exercises such as deep breathing, caregivers can keep themselves in a state of tranquility for at least a short duration of time. This will enable them to make better judgments and think through their decisions calmly.

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3. ‘Triangle Breathing’ to Keep Caregivers Calm

‘Triangle Breathing’ has psycho-physiological benefits such as a lower heart rate and reduced levels of tension and stress.

The process is three-fold and each step of Triangle Breathing is to be done for 3 seconds, hence giving the technique its unique name. The first step is to inhale deeply for 3 seconds, then hold it for another 3 seconds and finally exhale slowly and completely for three seconds. This process can be repeated 3 or 4 more times and can be done anywhere.

By incorporating this technique into their daily routines, caregivers can gain control over their minds and thoughts, giving them the power to be reposeful when they feel burdened by the challenges and demands that their roles in families or their workplace imposes on them.

To know more about ‘Triangle Breathing’ click here:

Next week, learn about one of the most effective techniques that can help caregivers relieve the physical exertion they may face due to constantly being on-the-run!

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