Visualizations: A Tool for Caregivers

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Years ago, during a counselling session, I was asked to imagine myself in a place that I felt completely at ease and safe. I pictured myself floating on Kalamalka Lake in the Okanagon, on a hot summer’s day near a beach that was steps away from my dad’s old home. Just thinking about it, I can feel the water on my skin, the hot sun on my face, and I can hear the wind rustling the branches of the willow tree that shaded the shoreline. Returning to this place in my mind is one of the tools I often use when I’m feeling anxious or stressed. I have other visualizations that are useful in different situations, too. When I feel nervous about speaking up about something that I don’t feel is right, I visualize a team of my most supportive friends and family standing behind me. If I’m feeling really stuck in a situation, I picture someone that has been through something similar, and I try to embody their strength, or humour, or candour.

Being able to use visualizations can be helpful on your caregiving journey, when there’s often so much uncertainty, grief, and stress. Visualizations can help caregivers to temporarily escape stress by imagining a more peaceful environment, or they can help you to picture a different way to get through a challenging situation.

Maybe you need to speak with a doctor about a concern you have, but you’re terrified to bring up the topic for fear of the response. You’re feeling scared and anxious. Those feelings are valid, and should not be pushed aside or dismissed, but if they’re stopping you from speaking with your doctor and getting the answers you need, you might need another way to handle the tough feelings that are coming up for you. Think of a time when you were scared and anxious about doing something, but you found some courage, and did it anyways. Now, take that energy and approach your doctor. If you can’t think of  an example, visualize someone that you know to be calm and resilient, and imagine yourself acting the same way.

There are numerous ways to use visualizations. If you’d like to learn more about how you can use them in your caregiving role, take a look at these resources:

Visualization and Guided Imagery Techniques for Stress Reduction

Take a Break: 3 Minute Visualization

Visualization Of Joy

Creating A Container for Grief  (scroll to the end for a visualization that helps work through grief) 

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North Shore Senior`s Health Expo – September 10

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The Dementia Friendly North Shore is launching at the first annual North Shore Seniors’ Health Expo featuring exhibitors, innovative speakers and researchers focusing on cognitive, physical, social and financial well-being.

North Shore Community Resources will have a table at the North Shore Senior`s Health Expo this Saturday, September 10th from 10am-3pm. The event takes place at the West Vancouver Seniors`Activity Centre and the West Vancouver Community Centre`s Sports Gym on 21st Avenue.

You can see the program guide HERE.

We hope to see you there!

Lindsay

 

 

Mindful Monday no. 21 – Walk in Nature

This WayLive in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.” -Henry David Thoreau, from “Walden”

Urban life is filled with many distractions: loud noises, busy traffic, and a constant cluttering of billboards and signage. We often don’t realize that the environment we live in adds to our stress. One of the best ways to reset from a stressful experience is to escape to one of the North Shore trails for a mindful meandering through the forest trails.

Studies have shown that walking in nature counteracts the effects of stress and anxiety in ways that cannot be reproduced in the urban environment. In fact, in one study, researchers linked the outdoor activity with a reduction in the negative thinking and rumination that accompanies depression and anxiety.

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At the foot of a trail, transition to a more mindful state by tuning in to your senses:

  • Do you hear birds chirping or leaves rustling?
  • Do you feel a breeze or the heat of the sub?
  • Can you spot any wildlife or flowers?
  • Do you smell the scent of pine or cedar?

We are fortunate to have easy access to nature through the many North Shore trails and parks. Before setting off, make sure you have appropriate footwear. Wear layers and bring along a bottle of water to keep hydrated. Finally, let someone know where you are going and when you intend to return home for safety purposes.

Here are some North Shore trails to check out: 

  1. Lighthouse Park, Easy, up to 2 hours
  2. Capilano Pacific Trail, Easy, up to 4 hours
  3. Whytecliff Park, Easy, up to 1.5 hours
  4. Lynn Loop, Easy, up to 1.5 hours
  5. Rice Lake, Easy, up to 1 hour

Where is your favourite place on the North Shore to escape into nature?

Lindsay

 

 

Summer Events Calendar!! July Edition

This summer there are no excuses to not go out and enjoy the weather! With our Out and About calendar there’s almost something to do every day this summer. Whether it’s enjoying one of the many concert series scattered across the North Shore or letting out your inner child at a craft fair; so get out and enjoy the sun! – Bryce Letham

Continue reading “Summer Events Calendar!! July Edition”

Wishing caregivers a happy New Year

Just a quick note to wish you a New Year filled with simple pleasures. We hope you will take time to care for yourself in the coming year – a daily walk, some quiet time with your favourite music or a get-together with a friend.

Take a look at the scheduled caregiver sessions in the January/February 2014 issue of  Family Caregiver Grapevine now online. We hope you can join us!