Alongside her role as a much valued Home Care Assistant here at Eidyn Care, Carol Devennie is also a yoga teacher and an educator in positive mental health through meditation and relaxation. Carol kindly offered to share some helpful tips to help us stay calm and positive in our roles as Home Carers:
As a carer and Yoga/Practitioner/Teacher, I know and understand the demands and pressures of being a carer. The role is very challenging mentally, emotionally and physically and we as carers have to take good care of ourselves. If our cups are empty, we can’t give to anyone else! We can find ourselves empty at times with not much to give and this can have a detrimental impact on our health, our job, our relationships and our lives.
My Top Tips for maintaining Positive Mental Health as Home Care Assistant would be:
- Try learning a couple of easy mindfulness/awareness of breath exercises. Control of the breath is a very quick, simple and effective way to change your mental, emotional and physical state. Try to sit still and pay attention to feeling the breath as it goes in an out the nostrils, close the mouth if that feels comfortable to you. Closing the mouth will reset the parasympathetic nervous system which means that it will calm the nervous system. Take some time if possible between clients, even just 5 minutes to breathe and centre yourself, look up Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana Yoga (Alternate Nostril Breathing) | Yoga Sequences, Benefits, Variations, and Sanskrit Pronunciation | Tummee.com) learn this simple, yet powerful technique for bringing the mind and body back to balance or square breath where you inhale for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, out for 4 and hold for 4 and imagine drawing a square in your minds eye.
“Know thyself” (Socrates) to learn and know your limits, ask yourself how much can you give and learn to say no if it’s going to take you beyond your ability to be there 100% for the client. Working when overtired doesn’t only have a detrimental impact on you but also our lovely clients and they deserve 100% as do you.
Take regular holidays and plan fun events, even if you don’t feel like it otherwise you could find yourself burnt out and having to take time off sick! (speaking from experience)
- Watch something funny every day, laughter is the best medicine and is especially important when working with palliative clients as we can be affected by the challenging circumstances our lovely clients are dealing with.
- Create a mood board with reminders of happy events, photographs, future event tickets/holidays to look forward to/inspirational people/a list of your favourite things and make sure you do the things that make you happy i.e. listening to music, playing a musical instrument, singing, dancing, gardening, running, chatting, sports, watching TV. take some time for yourself each day to do something you love, even for just 5 minutes if time is limited.
- Try to establish a Morning and Evening Routine that will support you in your day/evening. Do the same thing every morning that will lit your spirits and make you feel happy and whole. This could be a morning walk, yoga or meditation, journaling, music playlist and a wee dance in your living room before heading out or whatever it is that makes your heart sing. Same for the evening, switch off electronic devices a couple of hours before bed time, have a bath, self massage with some of your favourite lotions and potions, essential oils such as frankincense have a sedative quality and will assist you in having a very deep nights sleep coupled with meditation or some gently stretching or if you enjoy a bath, a bath with some essential oils.
- It goes without saying that a healthy and balanced diet is what we are all aiming for but become aware that our gut is our second brain and can impact our health in more ways than we even know. Try to eat/plan your food and take to work with you and try to rest – if possible after eating and take filtered water with you also and drink at regular intervals.
- Spend time in nature, slow down the pace, go for a walk or a dip in the sea or loch.
- Establish a relaxation/breathing/meditation routine even for just 5 minutes a day controlled breathing is the quickest way to change your state.
For more information or questions, you can catch me on Heartful Meditation and Yoga Centre – Home (facebook.com) or Instagram @heartfulmy or email firstname.lastname@example.org