Being in the moment is a challenge for anyone at the best of times. We’re all perpetually caught between the past and the future with present being a gateway between the two rather than what it is: the life you are actually living.
For caregivers, being present is especially challenging as you are not only considering all the things you have done and need to do, but moreover you’re considering the needs of another. It is in the space between the past and the future that burnout can occur. While often much of what you’re dealing with is in the present, ironically the present is where you can find joy and solace. Here are some things to consider in your day to day and some practices you can adopt to help you stay present
- Focus on the details around you. The way the sun hits the trees. The wind. The smell of dinner cooking. Throughout the day make it a practice of acknowledging the details around you that can be forgotten when we move from one task to the next.
- Focus on the details within you. Focus on your breathing. Take deep breaths. How does the air feels filling your lungs? The taste of food. The feeling of food. Your body is with you everywhere. Take time and effort to get in touch with it.
- Be conscious of your thoughts. Often we can find ourselves focusing on what isn’t working. Think about what is, what you are grateful for, and who you have around you. By being conscious of your thoughts, you can change them.
- Do activities with intent. Eating, folding laundry, driving. These are things we’ve done thousands of times. Take time to think of them without distraction.
- Be present with others. It’s hard when talking to someone not to think of a million things. When you speak to someone really listen to what they’re saying. By listening better we are more present and can go deeper into conversations and moments.