When you wake up in the morning, what are the first thoughts that come to mind? The tasks ahead or perhaps everything left undone from yesterday?
Our minds have fascinating power, and they can take off into the never-never land of “what if?” so quickly. Setting off a cascade of negative thoughts that feed upon each other to the point where doom and gloom can fill you up to the point that you’re sure that you’ve done things wrong, and nothing good will happen. Balance and inner peace may sound like a great idea for others, but you’re sure you’ll never have it.
Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it? But in the days of caregiving, you are juggling not only a long to-do list but also balancing your own emotions and those of your loved one. Some days go by easily and others seem like a train wreck. And that never-never land of “what if?” comes flooding in.
There is great power in setting the tone for your day by being kind to yourself. After you wake up, sit on the side of your bed and close your eyes. Take a deep breath and say to yourself, “Thank you for all that you’ve done and are going to do throughout this day.”
Then during your day, even if only for a few moments, stop and do something that fills you up with a breath of air. Whether it’s a 5-minute mindfulness breathing or meditation technique or a half-hour walk, allow yourself to reset your energy. Spend time doing something that truly fills you up. I’m not talking about playing a game on your phone, find something that truly fills your heart.
I take time away from my work every single day. Yes, there is a lot to do, but allowing time for a short walk, taking photos, gardening, or going out for lunch instead of eating in, truly resets my mind. Half an hour can make a significant difference.
Retraining your thinking and responses is not something you do with the flick of a switch. It is finding something that can work for you, practicing and not beating yourself up when you get in the same mind trap. And if you do, stop and say to yourself, “It’s ok. Don’t panic. It will be ok”. That may not solve the problem, but it will stop the negative energy that you are feeding it, and that can make a significant shift.
Thinking that you’ve done something wrong or that you aren’t up to the task can be a repeat pattern, but honestly, that would mean that you are in control of everything, and I guarantee you, that is not the case—mind over matter. Finding a way to let go of negative emotions is an essential part of being able to make it through your days.
No potion will relieve all of your stress or completely calm your nerves. Things happen, but the art of self-forgiveness and being kind to yourself every single day will make a difference.