I’ve read a lot about the reasons that breathwork is important to manage anxiety. Could you provide some practical examples of strategies that we could use?

The primary goal of deep breathing is to move away from our tendency to breathe in a shallow manner that expands our chests instead of our stomachs. You can check to see how you are breathing in any given moment by simply placing your hand on those areas to notice where the breath is expanding in your body. Typically, and certainly when we are anxious, our breath is shallow and quick. In breathwork, you want to remind your body to slow down and go deeper by pulling the breath all the way into your core.

One option we call the 3-3-6 method is very helpful. This method involves slowly counting to three on the inhale (pulling the breath fully in to expand the stomach, usually through the nose), holding the breath for three counts, and then releasing the breath fully while counting to six (usually through the mouth). The numbers and counting are just enough of a distraction and focus that your mind can divert its attention from the negative or ruminating thought patterns and instead create some peace in body and mind.

I am finding it so hard to take care of my ailing loved one and I feel so guilty for not having a better attitude about it. Why am I so exhausted and frustrated?

Caregivers are often labeled the “silent sufferers” because they don’t feel entitled to speak about how much this role impacts their own well-being. Unfortunately, this leaves many depleted and in need of care themselves and less able to help their loved ones in a way that feels congruent for them.

Here are a few simple action steps that you can take to care for the caregiver:

1. Ask for help: Caregiving is not a one-person job. You need to stop carrying this burden alone. Ask for help from other family members or friends whenever possible.

2. Take a break: Off-duty time is essential to a sustainable plan that acknowledges the energy required for this role.

3. Open up to others: Reconnecting with others and opening up about what you are going through is an excellent way to remind yourself that you are not alone.

4. Navigate grief (or other strong emotions) with understanding: Give yourself grace to work through your grief journey in a way that feels gentle and helpful, knowing that there is no “right” way to be feeling as a caregiver.