Harry Cline is creator of NewCaregiver.org and author of the upcoming book, The A-Z Home Care Handbook: Health Management How-Tos for Senior Caregivers. As a retired nursing home administrator, father of three, and caregiver to his ninety-year-old uncle, Harry knows how challenging and rewarding caregiving can be. He also understands that caregiving is often overwhelming for those just starting out. He created his website and is writing his new book to offer new caregivers everywhere help and support. Check out this great article he wrote for us!
5 Ways Yoga and Meditation Can Bring Peace to the Life of Seniors and Caregivers
Sometimes, we need a little help as we get older. If you are a senior who needs extra care or a caregiver providing for a loved one, you know how much these arrangements can take to work. Self-care is an essential element of staying healthy and positive for seniors and caregivers alike. Luckily, two of the most common, and most beneficial, forms of self-care are simple to include in your life. Yoga and meditation can strengthen your mind, body and soul, so here are some tips to help you both get started.
Benefitting From Your Practices
There’s a reason you see so many people taking up a yoga and/or meditation practice. Yoga and meditation are some of the most basic methods to practicing mindfulness. Through these practices, you can connect with yourself, steady your emotions and create positive energy. Yoga provides additional physical benefits by carefully adding strength and flexibility to your muscles, both of which are wonderful ways to track your fitness progress. Many doctors recommend yoga to patients recovering from injury or living with an illness. Meditation focuses more on your mind, grounding you in peace. Together, these two practices offer a holistic approach to caring for your health.
Finding Time to Practice
Yoga and meditation may seem complex, but getting started really is the hardest part. For seniors, think about incorporating short, simple yoga sequences into morning routines. If mobility is an issue, find poses that can be completed even from a wheelchair. Caregivers can join this practice or do yoga on their own. With meditation, you can practice alone or alone together. All you need are a few quiet moments to turn your focus within and calm your mind. Use apps or tutorials to teach you how to meditate for maximum impact on your mental health and spiritual well-being.
Creating Quiet Spaces
To make meditation and yoga easier to practice, it’s important to set up some spaces in your home. Then, you can simply fold your routines into your morning rituals, or into any extra time you find on your hands. If you have a spare room, use it to create a dual space for yoga and meditation. Use minimalistic furniture and decor to give the space a clean feel. Incorporate candles, incense or essential oils to take advantage of the calming power of scent. You can find a couple of yoga mats to use for both practices or add props like blocks, straps and blankets to enhance your methods. Even if you don’t have an extra room, you can still set up a contemplative space in your home. The only elements you really need are quiet and calm.
Focusing on Your Breath
The key to any meditation or yoga practice isn’t mental strength or physical ability. These practices really center around your breath. Learning how to breath with intention will allow you to more easily come to your center, complete poses, and clear your mind for meditation. Still, breathing sometimes can be the trickiest part. Begin with some basic breathwork and really focus on just that. Inhale and exhale as deeply as you can, and look for ways to improve your technique for both practices. You will be amazed to see the benefits simply breathing can provide to seniors and caretakers.
If you’re new to yoga and meditation, or if you’re having a hard time getting started, think about reaching out for a little help. Sometimes, having a little hands-on instruction can help you pick up these practices faster. A yoga or meditation teacher can help you bring focus to your breath and practice poses with the correct posture. They can even offer advice on modifications that can help those with mobility or health issues modify their practice to avoid injury. You can find a studio to get you on the right path or look into having someone come to your house to offer guidance with convenience.
Getting older, or caring for someone who is, can be challenging. In either role, you need practices that help keep you positive. Yoga and meditation are simple ways to inject optimism and strength into your routine, and help you find true peace within.