Ever felt nervous about a work project, a doctor appointment or being late for a meeting? Everyone feels anxious sometimes and the result can be headaches, stomach upset, a racing heartbeat or feeling miserably tense. At times like this, you want to calm down — but how? For ongoing anxiety, learning and practicing yoga and meditation can help. There are also calming techniques to soothe anxious feelings while you’re on the go. No matter how much or little time they require, these stress-soothing strategies can produce a similar effect. They spark the body’s natural relaxation response, slowing breathing and heart rate, controlling blood pressure and promoting a sense of well-being.
Tips for going from frazzled to calm:
• Focus on your breathing. Take long, deep breaths, inhaling into your abdomen. Exhale slowly and repeat several times.
• Silently repeat a calming phrase. Some people use a short prayer, mantra, or a soothing phrase such as “All is well” or “I am fine.”
• Mentally scan your body. While anxiously waiting for a meeting, breathe slowly as you focus on one part of your body at a time. Consciously relax your muscles, mentally releasing any tension you feel there.
• Tell yourself, “I can do this.”
Every day millions of Americans help sick or incapacitated elders or disabled family members with daily tasks and medical care. Experts from the CDC and the National Institute on Aging advise caregivers to practice the following routines to stay healthy while faced with the emotional and physical stress of daily caregiving:
Create personal health goals, find time to be physically active most days, eat a healthy diet and ensure adequate sleep. Don’t neglect your own health. Get vaccinations, screening and other care as your health care provider advises.
Maintain your personal interests and friendships. It’s not healthy to allow your caregiving to consume your entire life.
Remember, there’s no perfect caregiver. Set realistic goals to lower stress. Prioritize, establish a daily routine and say no to requests that drain your energy.
Learn to delegate whenever you can. Family members and friends often want to help — if they are reliable, let them assist with chores big or small.
Join an online support group. Connect with other caregivers to share information and experiences to feel less isolated.
Short breaks, such as taking a walk, are important, but consider longer breaks when possible, including respite care — short-term, professional care provided to people with disabilities so you can step away from daily caregiving.
Learn more at www.caregiver.org