Life is chaotic and noisy at times, and we all can get stressed out from this. What self-care tool is available to use that can help calm the chaos? Meditation or quiet-reflection. Often times when we quiet our minds we are better able to cope with our everyday lives and during high-stress times, and even improve our health over all.
Stress from everyday life can affect our mental and physical health. It can increase our heart rates, blood pressure, increase our rate of breathing, and more. If the stress is experienced over a longer time period, our adrenal glands become taxed and “…overproduce the hormone cortisol. Overexposure to this hormone can affect the function of your brain, immune system, and other organs.” (https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/what-meditation-can-do-for-your-mind-mood-and-health-) More recently, health studies have shown that meditation has beneficial effects in combating stress. Meditation is a proactive activity where your attention is focused inwards, inducing more relaxation. “Meditation is thought to work via its effects on the sympathetic nervous system, which increases heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure during times of stress. …’it will help you lower your blood pressure, but so much more: it can help your creativity, your intuition, your connection with your inner self,’ says Burke Lennihan, a registered nurse who teaches meditation at the Harvard University Center for Wellness.” (https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/what-meditation-can-do-for-your-mind-mood-and-health-)
Results from research on meditation and the brain have been published and reviewed for years now. Benefits of meditation, or quieting the mind, are“…now being confirmed with fMRI and EEG instruments. The practice appears to have an amazing variety of neurological benefits – from changes in grey matter volume to reduced activity in the “me” centers of the brain to enhanced connectivity between brain regions. (https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2015/02/09/7-ways-meditation-can-actually-change-the-brain/#39f4a1431465) This reduced activity allows for creativity and problem solving to dominate without overtaxing the mind. (a.k.a. it basically becomes effortless and allows for new solutions to present themselves.)
Once our minds become quieter we are able to become more focused, creative, and resilient. Want to know how to get started? Unified Caring Association has many different meditations tools available for its members for any time of day. Some of these are:
|Type of Meditation||Example|
|Uplifting & Positive||Affirmations & Meditations: Healing Body and Mind Spirit|
|Breathing Makes Everything Better||Relax and Breathe|
|Relaxation & Rejuvenation||Healing Spirit: Guided Meditation for Relaxation, Anxiety, Depression, Self Acceptance|
|Healing||Louise Hay-Assisting in your own healing|
|Exercise Made Easy||Happier in 5 Minutes- Laughter Yoga|
|Sleep Better Tonight||Guided Sleep Meditation for Insomnia (Sleep, Relaxation, Calm you Mind)|
If you are looking forward to reading more about Unified Caring Association and other caring acts, check out our other blogs: Caring Connection 24-7, It all Starts with Self-Care, Caring Through the Gift of Time, and Unified Caring Association-Your Life is What We Care About. Or visit our website to check out our Caring News, membership benefits, and other healthcare tools!
One of the first things we can do to care for others is to care for ourselves. It is really difficult to be of service to others if you are not caring for yourself. This feeling is like standing up with one leg buckling beneath you. Self-care is a pillar we can build upon, and Unified Caring Association has many tools to promote and aid in self-care health.
The UCA website has a section under Member Benefits that has resources for self-care. There is a wonderfully easy and insightful self-assessment tool we created to help you learn where you are strong and where you might need to improve to be healthier and happier. There is also access to the Personal Well Being Survey™ designed by the HeartMath Institute. This survey gives you an idea of your stress management techniques and general level of your well-being at the current moment. Once you have an idea of where you are now, it is easier to decide on tools for where you would like to be heading next.
Our Unified Caring Association website provides links to resources that provide fitness and nutrition tools for our members to enjoy. (Keep an eye open for those membership discounts on these types of products!). Another part of self-care is the the health of your mind. Unified Caring Association has a portion of it’s self-care resource section dedicated to many kinds of meditation and mindfulness activities. These tools help you relax and feel rejuvenated, find inner peace, and support your inner healing. All of these can help inspire and spur you on with your new healthier lifestyle choices and much more! Wheew, so many resources to help you take care of yourself!
Earlier we mentioned it is important to take care of yourself so you can take care of others as well. So why is this so important? “Self-care means paying attention to and supporting one’s own physical and mental health … But, it’s also one of the first things to fall by the wayside in times of stress, especially for those who are primary caregivers.”
(https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/self-care-4-ways-nourish-body-soul-2017111612736) Self-care is important so that you can continue to be effective and energetic in all aspects of your lives, including taking care of your self-esteem, self-efficacy, maintaining and building relationships with friends and family, and so much more.
Once you have taken steps to care for yourself, caring for others becomes easier and more sustainable because you have more band-width, energy, and fortitude to care for others. We love to see people diving into self-care, because it means that there are more caring acts happening in the world. We can all agree that more caring and positivity in the world is a great thing!
Want to read up on more ideas to promote caring acts? Check out our Caring Challenge Recap and check out our other blogs like Caring Through the Gift of Time.
“Did I brush my teeth this morning?” Kind of an odd question, but not an infrequent one these days as some of us stumble through our unscripted days. We may have decided to stay in pajamas – or eat chocolate for breakfast – anything so as not to face the day ‘responsibly’.
But as the novelty of staying home wears off, the fog can roll in and cloud our focus as well as challenge our brain. What once seemed like an ongoing pajama party, now feels like zombie shock as reality starts to seep in. If you’re shaking your head trying to release some cobwebs, there is hope – read on.
Here’s the good news — You’re not alone!
It doesn’t matter whether you were a corporate executive, a busy store clerk, a stay-at-home mom or a retiree. We all had ‘pre-pandemic lives’ that were pretty much on automatic pilot. Now that we’ve had to abruptly re-write our scripts, we must forgive ourselves for our baby steps, and look for the silver linings.
Silver Lining 1
It is better to be dealing with boredom, daily sacrifices and financial challenges than being sick with the virus. We are in this together, and federal and local governing forces, employers and other Samaritans are figuring out ways to help us all get through this.
Silver Lining 2
What a great opportunity to reach out to others and offer verbal support or assistance if you are in a position to do so. You never know how one small act of caring can make a huge difference in someone’s life. The bonus here is that an act of caring releases serotonin – a natural antidepressant – for you and the other person.
Silver Lining 3
Much to be grateful for. Our nation’s gas stations, drug stores and grocery stores are bending over backwards to accommodate those who need to be out and about ,or shop for necessities. These folks put themselves on the line every day to make the basics available and keep us going. Our postal carriers – firefighters – law enforcers – truck drivers – medical personnel – all are sacrificing for the good of the whole. Saying THANKS to them not only acknowledges their efforts, it reminds us how lucky we are.
Silver Lining 4
You now have the opportunity to deepen bonds by sharing your feelings with someone close to you. It not only provides a safe platform for your personal expression, but you may also have the chance to validate what someone else might be feeling. A win-win bonding experience created out of hidden feelings we may not ordinarily think about.
Silver Lining 5
Take time to ‘play’. Whatever that looks like to you. Want to stay in your pajamas – fine! But maybe you want to put on sunglasses and a straw hat and have a picnic on the floor. Or make some magic in the kitchen and create a totally absurd but tasty treat. Have a pillow-duel with your spouse or fly paper airplanes. There really is no script… just play… and have some fun!
Silver Lining 6
Perfect time to reconnect with friends or acquaintances you haven’t been in touch with. A simple “how are you doing” can rekindle some fond memories. You might even want to resurrect the art of letter-writing. Words formed with a pen are more connected to the heart.
Silver Lining 7
Look at what’s going on around the earth. Atmospheres are clearing, animals are reappearing, nature is stretching in a way she hasn’t been able to in years. What a blessing for this planet and our future well-being. It is wise to take note of how rapidly this is occurring. The damage caused by years and years of pollution is reversing itself at warp-speed. We are being given a second chance, and there is renewed hope that people everywhere will become more respectful of our host planet.
Silver Lining 8
Whoever thought that Israel and Palestine would come together for the sake of helping their people? Officials from both countries are working together to coordinate efforts against COVID-19. Now ambulances from Israel are traveling to the West Bank to transport patients. Medical workshops are being offered to the Palestinians to facilitate best practices in keeping the virus at bay. These steps of cooperation for the common good are a global miracle – a HUGE step toward peace, and a testament to the humanity in man.
Silver Lining 9
Your fellow men and women are AWESOME! Look how this country is pulling together – small-time manufactures retooling in record time to make respirators – homemakers making masks – restaurants staying open for take-out – distributors working night and day to keep the supply chain going. Everyone seems to be on the same page and the compelling mindset is “we’re all in this together”. If that isn’t an exquisite example of love for our fellow man, I don’t know what is. As the Beatles so simply stated:
There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done
Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung
Nothing you can say, but you can learn how to play the game
All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need