Providing care for a senior loved one isn’t always easy, and dealing with the stresses of aging is no fun for seniors either. So, what can you both do to relieve stress and have calmer, more positive days? Self-care is very important for preventing caregiver burnout and senior stress, and two of the most effective self-care habits you can start are meditation and yoga. Here are some ways you can work these calming routines into your lives.
How to Incorporate Meditation and Yoga Into Your Daily Routine to Relieve Stress
Set Up a Workout Space at Home
Meditation and yoga work best when you practice them every day. Getting out to a class can be a challenge for caregivers and seniors, especially when mobility is an issue. Thankfully, setting up a meditation and workout space in your home (or the home of your caregiver) is a fairly effortless task. Find a quiet, calming area where you can both focus on your practice without common distractions, such as televisions or activities outside. Include some home fitness and yoga essentials, like a supportive yoga mat. To fully support your home practice, you will also want to set up a reliable WiFi connection. There are many yoga and meditation tutorial videos online that can help you improve poses and perfect your breathing in practice.
If you crave variety, you can even look for online yoga classes to prevent boredom and help you improve your practice with progressive classes. Some sources, such as YouTube, are free to use, whereas others may charge a membership or class fee. Do some research to figure out which classes you enjoy the most, or take your time sampling courses from each one. And although you can’t expect Medicare to cover the cost of yoga classes, regardless of the health benefits they may bring, some Medicare Advantage plans will pick up the tab. However, before you decide to sign up for an Advantage plan, check out some resources so you know what to expect.
Start Your Yoga and Meditation Practices Slowly
One wonderful aspect of meditation and yoga is that these relaxing practices are very gentle for your body. Still, as with any other activity, it is always best to be patient with yourself in the beginning. Meditation, the act of contemplative breathing, can seem like an easy routine to transition into, but most people have a hard time quieting their mind. To prevent feelings of discouragement, caregivers and seniors should start off with short, mindful sessions. You may find it helpful to download a meditation app that can guide you through the beginning of your practice. You’ll often find advice for relaxing, calming music, and even a sense of community by meditating with apps like Insight Timer and Aura.
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Yoga takes some practice to perfect as well, and you do need to be careful to avoid injury when working on poses. Before you hit the mat, take stock of any limitations or concerns, and modify your practice to prevent pain or injury. Some mild discomfort is normal when you start to work on poses. If, however, you feel pain or anything feels off, take a break and find ways to adjust your poses to keep things more comfortable and safe.
Remember to Focus on Breathing in Both Practices
When you think of yoga, you may think of all the bendy poses first. While physical poses are an important element in any yoga practice, mindful breathing is at the root of a truly effective yoga routine. You have to master your breathwork in order to reap the full physical, mental, and spiritual benefits that yoga and meditation can provide. Learning to take those little sips of air through your nose and fill your belly with fresh air can honestly be just as relaxing on its own. Combine that conscious breathing with meditation or yoga and you have truly unlocked the transformative power of these practices. Using the apps and tutorials mentioned above should get you both on the right track in terms of breathing, but you can also look for short breathing practices in order to use breathwork to quickly relieve stress and tension.
The relationship between caregivers and senior loved ones can be strained at times, but calming self-care practices can help mend any tension. Practicing yoga and meditation together, or on your own, can help to relieve stress and bring more positive energy to your daily routine.