Five Reasons Carers Need Mindfulness.

Supporting someone who is experiencing an eating disorder can be stressful, isolating and take a heavy toll on our wellbeing.

Here’s 5 ways the practice of mindfulness can help support you and, in turn help improve the wellbeing of those in your care.

Mindfulness helps you stay present.

The definition of mindfulness is ‘being present with your moment-to-moment experience, without judgement’.

So often we are stuck in thoughts about the past or worries about the future.

By fully engaging through our senses to each moment, we can bring ourselves back to the present, rather than being stuck in our thoughts.

Mindfulness calms the nervous system.
When we are stressed, our body releases hormones including cortisol and adrenaline, which is healthy and normal – but if our stress is chronic and ongoing, it can have a detrimental effect on our wellbeing. Using mindfulness techniques, we can learn to regulate our nervous system (our ‘fight/flight/freeze’ response).
It’s only when we have a regulated nervous system can we co-regulate with those around us, helping them to also feel safe and calm. This skill alone is incredibly powerful when caring for others and managing your own stress.

Mindfulness builds compassion.

Do you notice your inner tyrant?

That little (or sometimes very loud) voice inside us that tells us we aren’t doing enough, or we are failing?

Mindfulness helps us to be more aware when we are judging ourselves and others too harshly and helps us to cultivate greater self-compassion and acceptance for others.

Mindfulness can help you understand your emotions.

Emotions are simply ‘sensations with a story’. The practice of mindfulness helps us to recognise the physical sensations or the ‘somatic experience’ of our emotions and to allow space for these to be felt and expressed safely. With mindfulness practice, we can start to be present with all our emotional states, knowing that we have capacity to feel it without being overwhelmed.

This is a superpower for a people in caring roles.

Mindfulness creates kinder communication.

Mindfulness fosters better communication skills as it stops us from responding reactively when we are triggered. We can pause before speaking; take a breath and to be mindful of our words, tone and intention.

We can communicate with greater clarity, truth and kindness and allows us to set healthy boundaries that support our needs as well as those around us.

The practice of mindfulness helps carers develop a deeper understanding of their own emotions and those they are caring for leading to improved relationships and more effective care giving.

EDFA members have access to free monthly mindfulness and meditation sessions held by Amanda Goodfellow on the first Wednesday of the month. Come along for mindfulness tips and a guided meditation to support carers in this journey.

Become a member of EDFA today to gain access to monthly meditation sessions, bi-weekly EDucation webinars plus a library of over 160 hours of recorded webinars with Clinicians and health professionals in the eating disorder space