TAKE A MENTAL BREAK

The brain gets fatigued after 60-90 minutes of concentrated effort especially when caring for a elderly loved one. At times it may appear we have everything under control even when we are getting things accomplished and don't want interrupt with a break. However, our brain will function better and for longer if we give it a chance to rest and recuperate. Stepping Up:A Companion and Guide for Family Caregivers offers many helpful tips and strategies on taking care of yourself during these times. In addition to the book's techniques, I recently discovered another way to refresh the brain from Linda Graham, MFT. She recommends if you can't take a full day or a full weekend to refresh your brain and recover resilience try the technique below to give your brain a breather in your busy day.

Every 60- 90 minutes:

1. Pause. Take a few seconds to come to conscious awareness of being present and aware in this moment.

2. Bring to the mind one moment of difficulty, pain, suffering and loss from the past. Feel every facet of the memory-visual images of what happened, all the people you were with, any emotions you felt then or any emotions you feel now. As you remember the event, notice any thoughts you have about yourself now as you remember this event.

3. Shift the focus of your awareness to reflect on how you coped with the event and its aftermath. What lessons did you learn? What wisdom did you pull out of the misfortune you were in? What would you do differently, now, having coped with and survived as you did?

4. Shift the focus of your awareness again to how you feel about yourself now. Do you notice any sense of self-acceptance, pride or strength available to you now? 

5. Shift the focus of your attention once more. Notice anything in your surroundings or circumstances, right now, or anything you encounter during the rest of the day that brings even a small acknowledgement of delight: the warmth of the sun on your face, the bitter sweetness of a piece of chocolate, the memory of a recent conversation with a friend. 

6. Take 30 seconds to simply be with and appreciate the joy and pleasure of the moment - let any warm penetration feeling sink into your body. Savor the feeling.

Again, try this and other techniques in Stepping Up:A Companion and Guide for Family Caregivers to assure you resilience from family caregiving and other overwhelming experiences. The book is available on this site, Amazon or your local bookstore.  

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