Thursday, July 28, 2016

Caregivers, Senior Professionals: Deep Breathing Helps Us Relax!

Deep breathing.  It helped me bring our third child into the world 34 years ago.  Mirroring my husband's breaths, I kept the pain at bay.

Today and over the years, both as a caregiver and as a professional working with families with aging parents, I've seen  the value of deep breathing.

If you fall into one of those categories, caregiver or senior care professional, deep breathing can do wonders for your body. It can help you relax, focus, escape overthinking and fall asleep or go back to sleep. I've also personally experienced the effectiveness of deep breathing in combating "compassion fatigue," when I over-identify with clients and their struggles.  And yes, that happens!

Deep breathing takes practice.  It emphasizes the nose, rather than the mouth.  Here's how:
  • Lay down, stand, or sit upright as you breathe. It's more difficult to draw in a full breath if you're in a slouched position.
  • Place one hand on your belly, and the other on your chest, as you inhale. You can tell you're breathing deeply and properly if the hand on your belly rises out further than the one on your chest as you inhale.
  • Let out your breath slowly through your nose. As you breath out, pull in your belly toward your spine. Exhale all of the breath in your lungs. After you exhale, take in another deep breath through your nose and continue breathing deeply. Try to exhale for twice as long as you inhale, and fully expel the air. [3]
Good luck with deep breathing!

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