When we believe we’ve failed as an employee, a parent or a caregiver, we feel guilty and lose motivation. 

Tasks that were easy to carry out like grocery shopping, exercising, enjoying family and leisure time may take lots of effort.  We stop enjoying the basic pleasures of life, like having a good night’s sleep. We tend to overlook our own needs and “forget” to take care of ourselves, 

Very soon, we start using stimulants to feel better and more alert. Our daily coffee or tea intake does not help. Having a cigarette with coffee may quickly increase to having more cigarettes.

Instead of turning to more potent stimulants, let’s see what we can do to emerge more robust and more in control of our lives. 

Developing self-awareness or having knowledge of our overall wellness can be the first step. Even if we know that “something” is not right, we cannot do anything as we don’t have time to spare. When a partner or spouse talks about the changes in our daily schedule, our spontaneous response would be to ignore them or refute them.

Any situation perceived as stressful – whether meeting deadlines or constant worrying about losing a job – can bring on our “fight-or-flight” response. Our body’s natural reaction to stress either is to fight the threat off or run away from it. Even when the perceived threat is over, we tend to react to other stressors with the same response pattern. We become breathless and start feeling dizzy when stressed. 

Meditation or mindfulness can be challenging for many of us; I shall be talking about three types of breathing techniques for “self-care on the go.” 

Breathing happens in the current moment. 

It can calm us, as the rhythmic movement of breathing in and breathing out acts as a diversion – especially when we feel overwhelmed or stressed. 

First, visualize your breath as a golden ray of light while focusing on the space between your eyebrows. Just feel the warmth emanating from this ray of sunshine. 

Next, you start to breathe in and breathe out steadily while again concentrating on the space between your eyebrows. To make the breathing process more effective, visualize that you breathe in through the navel or abdomen, carrying the breath to the chest and neck area, breathing out gradually, feeling the stomach deflate. Observe the sensations in your body during this process.

Once you are comfortable with using your breath to relax, you can gradually increase the time you spend on each breath. Inhale to the count of two, pause and focus on a spot between your eyebrows, next release your breath to the count of two. Gradually increase the number of counts and observe the sensations in your body.

After each breathing session, think of your “Sankalp” or intention. Intention can purpose the stairs instead of the elevator. Intentions will help in shaping your behaviour towards your desired goal. 

Gradually and effortlessly, self-care will be part of your daily routine. 

This article was published in the Telegraph-Journal.

The picture is from Mind Matters A.S. Consulting; 


 Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes and should not substitute for psychotherapy with a qualified professional.