Years ago young girls learned their numbers and letters by embroidering samplers.
The words of one sampler resonate through time, even though its author and date are unknown.
It simply says . . .
“In the rhythm of the needles there is music for the soul.”
If you’re a knitter, you know what those words mean.
There’s a rhythm to knitting that soothes and comforts.
Traditionally women have knit during times of stress. Like making helmet liners, gloves, and socks for soldiers in wartime.
And sometimes the stress sneaks up on you . . .like in caregiving.
When Lisa’s mother was a hospice patient, Lisa’s spare hours were filled with caregiving.
Yet strangely when she looks back on those times, she realizes that she was a very productive knitter.
She knit three pairs of knee high socks in a very short time. While socks look like a small project because of the fine yarn used, they’re actually a lot of stitches. Probably over 30,000 in a typical pair of socks!
Like Lisa, as a caregiver you may get so focused on your loved one that you miss your own signs of stress. While it’s commendable, it’s also potentially dangerous. To both you and your loved one.
Well, because as a caregiver you’re at increased risk for stress-related illnesses and conditions. And who will care for your care recipient when you get ill?
Do you have an outlet for your stress?
Have you ever noticed how your crafting activities increase as your stress increases?
When I’ve had the most stress in my life, I’ve been amazed at the amount of crafts I’ve done.
I’ve found knitting, woodworking, oil painting, crocheting, sewing, and other crafts all helpful. Especially knitting. 😉
At first I thought it was just my way of coping with stress . . .
Until reading research from Harvard’s Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine. The Institute started when Dr. Benson developed an interest in meditation’s connection to lowering blood pressure.
The Institute notes that 60 to 90 percent of physician office visits are related to stress.
As a caregiver you’re at increased risk for stress-related illnesses.
Dr. Benson is the first to describe the relaxation response. Interestingly he found it in almost every culture.
What activities did he find trigger the relaxation response?
- Diaphragmatic breathing
- Repetitive prayer or meditation
- Chi gong
- Tai Chi
- Progressive muscle relaxation
What is the relaxation response?
It’s a 2-step process . . .
- Step 1 is the repetition of a sound, word, phrase prayer or movement. This can be a short prayer in many cultures.It can also be the repetition of movements in knitting and other crafts. Including spinning, crocheting, sanding wood by hand . . .
- Step 2 is passively setting aside intruding thoughts and returning to the repetition.
How does that help caregivers?
Doing 20 minutes of one of the activities that trigger the relaxation response leads to a decrease in blood pressure, slowing of heart rate and breathing, and a slowing of your metabolism.
In other words, it decreases the signs of stress!
While you may not eliminate the cause of the stress, you can counteract your body’s initial reaction to it.
And perhaps also lower your risk for the associated medical problems.
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To your Happy & Healthy Caregiving,