Have you ever heard of mindfulness? It sounds very serious but it is actually just a way to relax and focus on what is happening right this moment (rather than rushing around and thinking about all the other things you need to do).
Mindfulness is a great way to take a bit of time to yourself and it can help you feel better and less stressed. It is sometimes called meditation.
You are probably very busy with school, friends, family and then caring on top of that. But you can do simple things in a short space of time that can help calm your racing mind and help you get through the day in a more peaceful, less stressful way.
Remember mindfulness and relaxation techniques aren’t just for adults– you can learn to do this no matter how young you are.
It can be very easy to learn how to be mindful. You don’t need any equipment – just a few minutes to yourself. You can even do it when you are doing other things but it is a good chance to do very little, or something you find relaxing.
You may be able to teach yourself. There are also some apps that can help if you have a phone or a tablet. One of these is Headspace which helps you do 10 mins of meditation a day.
https://www.headspace.com/. There are also lots of other mindfulness apps, such as Calm, Buddhify, and Smiling Mind. Have a look at others and see what other people who used them say.
There may also be some groups near you that can help. Some schools even have mindfulness classes. If you are part of a young carers group see if this is something they could help with, or ask someone to visit the group and show you.
Here are some ideas from Karen Martin who is the Mental Health Development Coordinator (Scotland), Carers Trust.
Try this the next time you take a shower (or bath)
- Try to have 5 -10 minutes on your own to get in the shower.
- Notice the sound of the water as it sprays out.
- Notice how it feels on your skin, how does it feel on different parts of the body, notice how the temperature feels.
- Notice the smell of the shampoo and soap as you start to use them
- Notice how the shampoo and soap feel against your skin, and how it feels to wash it away
- Notice the steam rising in the room, notice the water droplets on the wall and shower screen/curtain
- If you have any thoughts creeping in, just acknowledge them and let them go, bring your attention back to your experience of the shower.
This may sound a bit odd but it will help you calm down and relax.
Be in charge of your thoughts
Your thoughts are just that – thoughts – they are not who you are. You are in charge of your thoughts, they are not in charge of you.
If you let them then they will take over and that is when you will start to feel stressed, angry, worried again.
If you find you are waking up at 2am with thoughts racing through your mind, just pause, focus on your breathing, take a deep breath in and exhale slowly. Do this five times and each time really focus on your breathing. This can give your mind time to slow down, it can give you time to distance yourself from your thoughts.
Find out more on the full guide Mindfulness for carers by Karen on our Matter website. Please note that this is a pdf.