As so many of you are all too aware, caregiver breathing is different from all other types of respiration. Often, we find ourselves in a holding pattern while checking on, or listening to, the breathing of our charges regardless of age or challenge. In the past few weeks you may have caught yourself, as I have on numerous occasions, synching to someone else’s irregular pattern. Or worse, you may have found yourself NOT breathing at all, while waiting for indicators or numbers to appear. If fortunate enough to catch this, maybe we remembered to inhale and exhale deeply before symptoms of oxygen deprivation appeared.
Ironically full deliberate caregiver breathing, is the antidote for almost every negative situation. Deep breathing has a way of keeping times of distress from escalating and providing clarity in moments of agitation, confusion, or re-invented memory. Caregiver breathing is also the quickest route to relaxation both in the middle of the night and during times of fear or worry.
Encouraging caregiver breathing IS one way that anyone can help. If you are speaking on the phone to a caregiver who sounds rushed, speedy, or like they are out of breath, you can help just by taking a breath yourself, or mention a reminder to breathe. If you are physically present and it is appropriate, offer us a moment while you are available with whoever the recipient of care may be, or if possible take a walk around the block with us.
This week life saving resuscitation came in the form of my amazing daughters, who’s help managing activities of daily living freed up a few hours for us to escape to Crane Beach. It was a chilly blustery holiday filled with sunshine and laughter. While exploring the shoreline, a feeling of peace translated into an act of spontaneity. Placing my back on the sand, tight contracted muscles slowly unfurled into a full relaxed state. From my spot I could see the girls happily engaged in their own relaxation and felt free to care for myself. Exhaustion and worry drained into the sand and sank deep into the earth. I felt myself breathing fully, evenly, and deeply for the first time in days. It was glorious. It was a remarkable time of healing and recovery made possible by these angels of goodness, whom I have always loved.
Spending time with ‘my girls’ has promoted a renewed ability to call up this sensation on demand especially when faced with rapid shallow breathing that is not mine. I hope you enjoy our adventure (made possible by DKIII technology) as much as we did. And no we didn’t get a new dog, the pooch in the pics is our friend Ariquipe’ (AKA – Quip-sake, Qui-pay, or Ariq) who has joined Thunder and Molly in loving us up for a couple of weeks.