Updated: Aug 11, 2022
The benefits of mindfulness and meditation for mental health and self-care have been expounded upon repeatedly. However, the idea of finding time for self-care may seem like a daunting task with all of your responsibilities and all of the other humans that count on you to be their rock and safe space. As a caregiver of a child with high needs or special needs, self-care is even more important to help reduce caregiver burnout. As cliche as it is, you cannot pour from an empty pot. If you are not recharging and refilling your own pot, you will eventually have nothing else to give. Learning to focus your attention and gain control of your mind can have a positive impact not just on your overall well being, but on specific concerns like ADHD, depression, anxiety, sleep, stress, fear, relationships and productivity. Looking at the benefits of meditation through the lens of being a caregiver; it will assist you in being able to better manage big feelings and situations that arise, both yours and your child’s, meditation helps fight caregiver burnout by redirecting focus and energy and giving you just a few minutes a day to refill and recharge so you can continue to be the best you can be for yourself and those you love. Meditation also provides a clearer mind to make the best decisions for yourself and your family and gain perspective.
Do you schedule time to meditate daily? If you haven't yet, how do you plan to prioritize this aspect of self-care? Personally, there are three different times of the day when I meditate. When I first wake up I usually do a mindset meditation like the 7 Days to Happiness series on Calm. Sometimes I meditate after I finish my morning movement (usually walking or running) and oftentimes that is a guided meditation at that time. I also routinely meditate right before I fall asleep; depending on my mood I will do a gratitude meditation or a meditation specifically for sleep. The most important way to add meditation to your daily self-care routine is to schedule a time that you will stick to! You can start with less than 5 minutes a day (1 or 2 minutes even, if that is where you need to start!). I recommend progressive relaxation or guided meditations to begin with because they help redirect your attention when you inevitably get distracted-that monkey mind is real!
Do not get discouraged or frustrated with yourself. Learning to meditate takes practice! Think of it this way, if you have never ran in your life, would you just sign up for a marathon and expect to do well? Of course not! Meditation is similar, you must practice regularly and train your brain. Give yourself grace and be patient with yourself.
Top Three Favorite Apps:
At my house, we have a paid membership for Calm and that is the app I use the most. My kiddo listens to the sleep stories every night to fall asleep. I very much enjoy the series they offer. I have done the 7 Days of Happiness series many times over. I also love the following series; Confidence, Radical Self-Care, Relationship with Self, 21 Days of Calm, 7 Days of Managing Stress and 7 Days of Soothing Pain. They also have a series on Emotions which is a great way to target specific emotions including burnout and grief. One other specific meditation I have repeatedly returned to is the Untangling Physical Pain. With all of my health issues comes a lot of pain if anything gets out of balance. I work very hard at self-care, but I am not perfect and sometimes I don’t always do (or abstain from) the things my mind and body require to be in balance and pain-free. When that happens, I re-focus using meditation and a whole lot of water and gentle movement. I do hope you will consider adding meditation as part of your self-care routine. Your mind and body will thank you!
Check out this link for more info on these apps and a few others!
What is caregiver burnout? Read here to find out and get more ideas of how to cope!
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