Does it feel to you as though time is speeding up? People have always said the older one gets the faster it all goes by. I'm finding some truth to that. But I also know the secret of slowing time down. Wish I could patent it :) But, just for you, my caregiver friends, here it is: Stop the distractions. Yup, it is just that simple -- and also that hard to do!
I am fortunate enough to have a place to go where there is no phone, no TV, no internet (well, unless you count smart phones, which allow you internet access anywhere). There are virtually NO distractions, unless I invite them. There is an elastic quality to time in this place that is so healing and rejuvenating -- it expands and slows down and it is simply wonderful! I usually choose to go on a news "fast" when I go to this special place -- the point is, I can choose exactly what I want to occupy my thoughts, fill my head with images, or I can choose silence, nature sounds, reading inspiring books, doing a puzzle, watching grass grow. This may not sound very exciting to you, but I can tell you the transformation in me from having shifted to the "slow motion" time, is nothing short of miraculous! Unfortunately, this place is 600 miles from my home, so it is a challenge to get there as often as I need it and it was especially difficult when I was caregiving 24/7. The really tough part of this for all of us is to find that special place "here" --wherever you are. You can do it. It takes a little planning, a lot of perseverance, and some good escape skills, but you can do it.
If you don't have access to a quiet retreat, create one. I'm perfectly serious. You can do it in your backyard or your bathroom. Or a closet or corner of your home that you claim for your sanctuary. Here's how.
If you choose the outdoor route, find a little place in your yard where you can be in solitude -- you can screen it using plants (scented herbs & flowers work beautifully for this), a room divider, a fence (or bamboo or reed fencing that you buy in 6' lengths) or even a cloth draped over a rope. If you want to get fancy, you can make a mini-meditation garden, but it's not necessary to go overboard. What you are after is a small space where you can just go and sit -- apart from any outer distractions. Make it comfy with a chair & cushions, or blanket on the ground. You can add a water fountain if you'd like that sound. Your objective is to make a peaceful place just for you.
If the backyard doesn't work for some reason, you can create an escape "spa experience" in your own bathroom. Close the door, run a bath, add lavender or other essential oil for relaxing scent, or bubbles, light a candle and sink into oblivion and lovely relaxation. The whole idea is that you control the distractions, even if only for a brief time. These mini-respites from your daily care can save your sanity. Trust me on this. I know.
The same idea can apply to a small space in your home -- the key ingredients are: privacy, quiet, control over distractions of noise or interruption, inspiring peacefulness in your being -- whatever that means for you, personally. You'll be surprised how quickly you can "shift" into slow time with this method. If you can meditate, it happens even faster and you'll learn to do it pretty much anywhere, anytime you need. Experiment with some ideas. Consider this part of your saving lifeline, because this skill truly is just that!
I invite your comments and thoughts about slowing time.
Karen is a compassionate, enthusiastic student of life, who cared for her mother for 17 years. She brings her insights, compassion, experience and desire to share knowledge and healing to this ongoing conversation with others on the caregiving path. If you are caring for a parent, spouse, friend or other loved one this site offers sanity-saving tips, open-hearted self-care ideas, and an open forum for discussion, connection and sharing resources for the journey.
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