Build Your Caregiver Resilience: Three Easy Tips
Resilience is the ability to rebound from a crisis, tragedy, trauma or a serious case of ‘stress
mess.’ Resiliency varies from person to person due to a variety of factors but like any skill,
resiliency can be learned. Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. Research
recommends that you to build your capacity for resilience before having to face difficult
situations because highly resilient people won’t fall apart easily, and when we do (cause’ we
will!) it won’t be for long.
Cultivate awareness of themselves and their environment
Keep calm in stressful situations
3 accessible techniques to build your resilience.
1. The Body Stretch
I recommend doing this exercise before getting out of bed in the morning.
Stretch and wiggle your fingers and toes.
Roll your wrists and ankles in little circles in one direction and then in the other.
Inhale as you raise your arms overhead and stretch your whole body.
Roll onto one side and stretch or twist in any way you like.
Roll onto your other side and stretch or twist in any way you like.
Roll onto your back and bring your right knee toward the right armpit, and your left knee toward the left armpit. Place your hands behind the thighs or below the knees, gently press and hold for a few breaths.
When you feel complete, take a few long deep breaths, stretch your body in any way the body wants to stretch. Then let your feet hit the floor and begin your day.
2. The Check In
Checking in with the body and your environment from time to time during the day helps you
take appropriate action to what you sense and feel.
For example, if you:
Pay attention to your mouth, you may find sensations of dryness that can be addressed by drinking a glass of water.
If you are feeling stressed and notice that your breathing is shallow and centered in your chest, you can try the relaxation breathing exercise below.
Sit or stand.
Close the eyes. If you choose to keep them open soften your gaze and look downward.
When you exhale hold the breath out and silently count “one thousand one, one thousand two.”
Continue for 2-3 minutes or longer. This brings awareness to the breath, slows the rate of breathing, lengthens the exhalation and calms the nerves.
Grounding is one way to remain calm during stressful times and in difficult surroundings. I means to connect yourself to earth energy for stability, safety and security. Below is a quick way to experience this called Turtle-in-the-Shell. Turtle-in-the-Shell is a ‘yoga for your hands’ technique that promotes a sense of safety security and stillness.
This is one of my favorite grounding exercises and I often visualize myself sitting in a terracotta pot with my lower legs and hips surrounded by rich garden soil.
Make soft fists by folding your fingers (the turtle’s shell) over your thumbs.
Rest your fists on your thighs with the back of your hands facing up.
Hold for two minutes or longer if you are comfortable.
Building your capacity for resilience will help you carry your load.
Beth Gibbs, M.A, C-IAYT, is an author, speaker, yoga teacher and self-awareness trainer. She has published a personal growth book for adults titled, Enlighten Up! Finding Clarity, Contentment and Resilience in a Complicated World and a children’s book, Ogi Bogi, The Elephant Yogi. She blogs at bethgibbs.com