Mindfulness for Caregivers

Mindfulness for Caregivers

Caretakers, whether they are family and friends of people who are ill or elderly, or professional caretakers like nurses and home health aids, face some of the most stressful circumstances often with little support from others. Unless you’ve been in the role, it’s difficult to understand exactly what caretakers go through as they are responsible for the well being of another person day in and day out. Because caretakers play such a vital role in the health of others, we encourage all caretakers to ensure they’re looking after themselves, too.

One way to do this is practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness involves being present in the moment and accepting circumstances and feelings without judgement or resistance. If you’re feeling stressed, mindfulness means acknowledging that stress exists, accepting it and alleviating it by simply being in the moment. Finding calm, breathing deeply and not letting your thoughts to escape to negative places in the past or the future can be relaxing and peaceful.

An effective mindfulness practice is the S.T.O.P. method. VNSNY defines S.T.O.P. as:

S: Stop what you are doing for a moment.
T: Take a breath. Concentrate on the flow of your breath in and out.
O: Observe your thoughts, feelings and physical state. Notice your thoughts and let them be or pass. Name your emotions. Notice your body, its posture. Are you hungry or thirsty? Do you have any aches or pains?
P: Proceed with something that will be helpful to you, whether that is finding a friend to talk to, eating a nutritious snack or meal or stretching to relieve body tension.

Learn more about mindfulness for caregivers.