Have you ever had a hard time unwinding from your day? Unfortunately, this is not uncommon for us caretakers. As a caretaker, it’s hard to power-down and relax because our actions have weight. While caretaking roles vary (from nurses to teachers to grandparents to veterinarians), all of them involve responsibility.
One day was especially difficult for me. At home, hours after leaving work, I found myself still emotionally clocked in to work. At the time I was working with an organization that helped families develop healthy lifestyles. It was a very rewarding job, but it was also very challenging. On this particular day, we were short-staffed. Plus, the kiddos we were working with were so excited about that day’s activities, it was hard to teach them the corresponding lesson. After work I wanted to relax, but my mind had other ideas. I couldn’t stop thinking about my day. The more stubbornly I told myself to stop thinking, the faster my mind seemed to churn.
I decided to take a yoga class in hopes that it would clear my head. My yoga teacher said something at the beginning of class that really resonated with me. “No amount of thinking can stop you from thinking.” After hearing this, I stopped the internal war in my head. As the rest of the class moved from pose to pose, I rested in child’s pose and allowed myself a couple minutes to fully reflect on my day without distraction or judgement. What strategies had we tried that seemed to work well in that situation? What strategies could we try in the future if that situation ever happened again? Once I allowed myself to gain the insight I needed, I was able to relax, rejoin the class, and become present.
Taking time to both reflect and relax is particularly important for caretakers, because it allows us to perform our tasks better. Refreshed and prepared, we can solve problems better and help more. If you’re having trouble relaxing on your own, I encourage you to seek some support. Maybe you, like me, will find a yoga instructor’s guidance helpful. Maybe yoga isn’t your thing, and you may benefit from working with a health coach or personal trainer instead. There are many other relaxation tools and strategies that a fitness professional could share with you.
Thanks for reading. I hope you have a safe and healthy month.