Stress is a part of everyday life for family caregivers. It can be tough to juggle the needs of a senior loved one with your own family’s needs and a career. Finding healthy ways to manage caregiver stress is essential. One avenue to explore is guided meditation — a simple, effective way to cope with stress.
Recognizing Caregiver Stress
Recognizing the warning signs of caregiver stress isn’t always easy. While some symptoms — such as feeling anxious or overwhelmed — are more obvious, others aren’t. Signs that a caregiver is under too much stress may include:
- Becoming angry quickly or crying easily
- Overreacting to minor inconveniences
- Unintentionally gaining or losing weight
- Developing new, unhealthy coping mechanisms (smoking or drinking too much)
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Losing interest in spending time with friends
- Withdrawing from favorite hobbies and social activities
- Getting frequent headaches, stomach issues, or colds
If one or more of these sounds all too familiar, you might be experiencing caregiver stress. Learning how to meditate may help.
Guided Meditation for Caregivers
When you hear the phrase “guided meditation,” it’s easy to associate it with New Age or Eastern religions. While it’s true that those religions do practice guided meditation, many more people meditate to calm the mind and help the body relax.
In guided meditation, another party leads practitioners to a tranquil state of being. A session can occur in person or via a recording or app you listen to and follow. The leader will guide you in relaxing specific muscles and help you work through mental images and visualizations.
Meditation for Caregivers
How can an already overwhelmed caregiver learn more about guided meditation?
Fortunately, technology has made guided meditation and daily meditations for caregivers much easier to access. There are phone apps and videos that can help you find focus to better manage the day ahead, as well as aid in sleeping better.
Here are a few meditation programs to explore:
- Peace: This 30-minute guided visualization video from Jason Stephenson is free on YouTube. It’s a great choice for beginners, including caregivers, to use before bedtime.
- Calm: You can use this app to help with focus, relaxation, and sleep. You’ll find videos, music, and stories on Calm. The free trial gives you an opportunity to explore the app before making a commitment.
- Stop, Breathe & Think (SBT): The SBT app encourages you to stop what you are doing and evaluate how you are feeling. It prompts you to practice mindful breathing and broaden your perspective to help the mind find peace. You can use the free trial to see if the app is a good fit for your caregiver meditation goals.
Even a few minutes of guided meditation can aid in coping with caregiver stress. That’s important because chronic stress contributes to everything from diabetes and depression to heart disease and obesity.
Subscribe to the Caring Times Blog
Another tip for managing the role of caregiver is to subscribe to the Caring Times Blog. You’ll find helpful resources and articles on caregiving topics ranging from bone health to recovering from a fall.