This is a short and simple book advocating the benefits of mindfulness practices for both people in the caring professions, and for those who do unpaid work in caring for relatives or friends. It emphasizes how difficult and stressful it is to care for others, and how the numbers of people in a caregiving role is escalating in most industrialized countries. It also spells out reasons for thinking that engaging in mindfulness practices do actually make a difference. The main body of the book is 85 pages with fairly large print. Within these pages are 15 short chapters, and at the end of each chapter is a summary of the main points. The basic idea is that being a carer is stressful and consuming as a life activity, so carers tend to neglect their own health and wellness. They are at high risk for both emotional and physical problems, especially since mind and body are closely linked, so difficulties in one area can easily lead to difficulties in other areas. Cheryl Rezek provides several exercises in mindfulness in the book, and there is also a webpage of five audiotracks to help listeners meditate.
The meditations provided are not particularly about caring work, but instead are more general, helping the listener focus on their body, their breath, and their consciousness. So they are the sorts of exercises that are available in most mindfulness resources, such as the free ones on this website. Nevertheless, Mindfulness for Carers might be useful as a starting point for people looking into options for dealing with their stress arising from the work of looking after people with many needs.
Associated website: Meditations for carers: http://www.lifehappens-mindfulness.com/carers-audio/
· Body Focus (25 minutes)
· The Mountain (5 minutes)
· Mindful Breathing (5 minute version)
· Mindful Awareness (20 minute shorter version)
· Gentle Space (5 minutes)
© 2015 Christian Perring
Christian Perring, Professor of Philosophy, Dowling College, New York