Because of their rugged, remote locations, mountains make for serene meditation spots. But caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s and other dementia disorders don’t need a mountaintop; they simply need to slow down.

Dr. Venus Nicolino, Ph.D., a doctor of clinical psychology, champions self-care for those working with Alzheimer’s or dementia patients.

“I respect quiet moments,” she says. “What does it mean to respect your quiet moments? Don’t strive to fill them needlessly. If there’s nothing to do, it’s OK to do nothing.”

Nicolino points to June’s Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month as an opportunity for caregivers to care for themselves while tending to Alzheimer’s or dementia patients. The Alzheimer’s Association uses the month to enlighten the public about different kinds of dementia.

Worldwide, there are 55 million people living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. Anyone can develop Alzheimer’s, and it’s the only major cause of death that cannot be prevented, cured, or slowed.

Caregivers can make an enormous impact on people’s lives. They might be tending to a relative or loved one or fulfilling the role of professional caregivers. Regardless of their duties, these helpers should practice self-care to avoid burnout and poor mental health.

“If your responsibilities and expectations start to feel overwhelming, create a quiet moment for yourself,” Dr. Venus Nicolino says. “Find the time and space to be alone. Just do nothing, and give the machinery in your head a rest.”

Caregiving duty is rife with stressful moments that need soothing via silence. Seeking quietude can take place anywhere and at any time.

“Whether that’s closed eyes and deep breathing or just disconnecting from any and all screens, make it a regular practice to create and respect your quiet moments,” Nicolino says. “This is your time. You’re entitled to use it for yourself. You could even carve out a regularly scheduled time in your day to be un-busy.”

Dr. Venus Nicolino Says Digitally Guided Meditation Can De-Stress Caregivers

Los Angeles Times bestselling author Dr. Venus Nicolino is a prominent supporter of good mental health and is so approachable that fans call her Dr. V. Her book, Bad Advice: How to Survive and Thrive in an Age of Bulls–t, is a down-to-earth instruction guide for staying mentally healthy; the Los Angeles Times and USA Today ranked it a bestseller.

Nicolino promotes her mental wellness tips on social media: She gets the messages out via TikTok, Instagram, and a podcast, “The Tea With Dr. V.” Her mental health strategies should work exceptionally well for caregivers.

She says she’s “obsessed” with the award-winning guided meditation podcast “Meditation Minis” by hypnotherapist Chel Hamilton. She creates short, audio-driven exercises to give listeners meditations for anxiety, stress, and confidence.

“The key word here is ‘mini,’” Nicolino says. “Make the meditation seven minutes long to shift your mind, mood, and thoughts; it’s seven minutes in heaven.”

Another digital style of meditation is the SoundMind app. Dr. Nicolino is chairwoman of the company and believes it to be one of the greatest mind management tools. SoundMind plays visual beats that send frequencies to your ears that are processed in the brain to alter your mood.

Dr. Venus Nicolino Urges Caregivers To Seek Creative Outlets for Self-Care

Dr. Venus Nicolino encourages caregivers and others dealing with weighty matters to express their creativity. Many avenues of creative expression are available.

“Creativity is your innate human ability to express yourself through the change you create in the world around you,” she says. “You are absolutely capable of creating real and immediate change in your life.”

Nicolino says tapping into your creativity can be as simple as changing what you wear, what you have for dinner tonight, or the route you take to work. One change leads to another, she says, and the smallest action can create a domino effect.

“What you are doing is creating a difference in what could otherwise feel like a never-ending sea of sameness in your life,” she says. “But more importantly, you’re tapping into the fearless child part of your heart that never dies.”

Alzheimer’s Caregiving Tips: Don’t Be Afraid To Ask for Help

Caring for yourself, physically and mentally, is critical as a caregiver. The National Institute on Aging, a division of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, provides an array of ways to do this. It’s a wonderful idea to ask family members and friends for help when needed. You can also get help from a home health care service.

Other ways to take care of yourself include eating healthy foods; joining a caregivers’ support group; taking breaks each day; spending time with friends; keeping up with your hobbies and interests; getting exercise as often as you can, and visiting your doctor on a regular basis.

Some caregivers experience undeserved guilt when they think they aren’t doing enough for their loved ones. Caregivers can find it difficult to ask for help, but it’s OK to do so.

Ask family, friends, and others for a hand. People can bring a meal, visit the person, or take the person out for a short time. You can join a support group of Alzheimer’s disease caregivers by asking a doctor, checking online, or contacting the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. You don’t have to do everything yourself.

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