Chant to relax (just try it…)

As I was taking a shower this morning (when I do all my best thinking, obviously), I realized that the one thing I’ve wanted to do this year, I haven’t done. And that is to keep up this blog and create a website to go with it. So, here I am just a short SIX MONTHS LATER. Oh well, better late than never, right?

One of the things about being a caregiver that all know and get is that there is NO TIME FOR YOURSELF! None. It doesn’t matter who you are caring for really. But as a wife of a quadriplegic and a mom to a 5 year old, I have very little time… Throw in a full time job, the black lab and the house and my alone time starts around 10 at night, if I’m lucky. I don’t even get to go to the bathroom by myself (moms, you’re all nodding your heads to this one).

However, I have realized over the past four and a half years since my husband’s injury that alone time is a must. And I’ve come to realize just this past year how important it really is for me. There’s telling yourself that you need to take alone time and then there is doing it. I’ve tried many things to help take time for myself and to calm and relax myself. For those that know me, I do not have the “relaxed” personality. I just don’t. Nor will I ever claim to have it! However, I would like to and have tried to participate in activities that could lead me to a calmer state (typed while laughing…).

The few things I have realized that have helped (not really worked 100% but have helped) are yoga and running. Yes, two COMPLETELY different activities. Yoga forces me to stop and breathe while running lets me get it all out and essentially punish my body. For some reason, doing these two together helps immensely and I’ve noticed that if I do one without the other during the week, I just don’t feel the same.

A few days ago a friend gave me a card with a cat on the front doing a “yoga pose.” You all know it since it’s the pose a cat takes when licking its crotch – leg up in the air as if the cat is showing off its flexibility… You open the card and it says “I do yoga, I meditate and I chant and I still want to punch someone.” It made me laugh and realize, wait, I run and do yoga and I too still sometimes want to punch someone!

So, maybe I should throw in something else… This morning I got 30 minutes to myself!!!!! I KNOW! Although those 30 minutes were at 5:30 AM but still, I’ll take it. So, I jumped onto my iPad and read my Yoga Journal and found this article.

I figured what the hell?! I sat on the floor and tried it out and holy hell I felt better! I took a meditation class a few years ago and found it beneficial BUT not something I could continue. Sitting quietly for 20 minutes just seems far fetched for me and my fast moving brain. Yoga forces me to focus on breathing and my movement so that helps although I still think about what I have to do during class. But I could NEVER EVER stop thinking during meditation no matter how many times I did it. However, chanting (no matter how silly and ridiculous I felt) forced me to stop thinking and essentially talk. When I’m talking, I’m thinking (and those who know me know I either talk or think…). So try it out. It also shows that chanting meditation helps more than quiet meditation especially for caregivers. And let’s face it, caregivers need all the help they can go. This type of meditation helps boost cognitive thinking (who doesn’t like that, right?!) and helps stave off the effects of stress!

Take 12 minutes (or even just 5 to 6) and try it out. Sit on the couch, in a chair, on the floor or even lie down in bed and chant while touching each finger (click on this link for how to do it… Or try it out when sitting at a red light, like I did on the way to work. It forces your body to take a minute or two to stop and focus on something other than your stressful situation.

I think some of you may find it worthwhile. I did.

– e

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