It’s Day 2 of our 31  Days of Seeking Self-Care, and today we’re exploring breathing techniques. Let’s discover which one might work best for you.

Family Caregiver, maybe you’ve experienced the overwhelm of the caregiving life. You know, those days when everything seems to hit you all at once. I know I have, even resulting in a panic attack a time or two (click here to read more about it). What if that could change?

Using breathing techniques as part of your self-care habit may even prevent the onslaught of overwhelm because they can help you center your thoughts and give you a sense of calm before things have a chance to get out of control.

Three breathing techniques

Box Breathing

Think of it like building a square box with your breath.

How to do it:

  1. Breathe in, counting to four slowly.
  2. Hold your breath for 4 seconds.
  3. Slowly exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds.
  4. Breathe in slowly for another 4 seconds.

Repeat as needed and adjust if necessary. If 4 seconds is too much, start with two and build up to four. This is a breathing technique you can do anywhere and anytime you feel anxious, overwhelmed, or need a moment to center yourself at the start or end of the day.

Breath Prayers31 Days of Self-Care Breathing Techniques

You can try this instead of counting. Christianity Today (CT) calls it a “miraculous process.”

There are several ways to do breath prayers. Here we’ll use short bible verses (this also helps with memorization).

How to do it:

  1. Choose your verse.
  2. Breathe in the first part of the verse.
  3. Breathe out the second part of the verse.

Easy, right? Here are a few examples to get you started:

  1. Breathe in, “Rejoice in the Lord always;” then breathe out, “again I will say, rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4 ESV)
  2. Breathe in, “Don’t worry about anything;” then breathe out, “instead, pray about everything.” (Philippians 4:6 NLT) (CT’s suggestion)
  3. A longer verse this time – breathe in, “Rejoice always,” breathe out, “pray constantly,” breathe in, “give thanks in everything;”, and breathe out, “for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 CSB)

Breathing affirmations

Because we are not all as confident as we’d like, speaking affirming words over yourself can be helpful. Combined with deep breathing, they can powerfully change your mood and how you approach your day. Caregiving can be extremely stressful and fraught with all kinds of negative emotions. This is just one more way to counteract those emotions.

Just be careful to choose affirmations that support your beliefs and speak the truth over your life.

How to do it:

  1. Breathe in, “I am a child of God,” then breathe out, “beloved, chosen, and redeemed.”
  2. Breathe in, “I am capable,” then breathe out, “equipped for God’s purpose.”

Benefits of Breathing Techniques

Using deep breathing techniques can help you:

  • Relax and aid sleep
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Destress
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Regain focus
  • Control breathing (by counting or repeating a verse)
  • Regain control in a stressful situation
  • Be present
  • Aid in meditation

Without taking action, things won’t change anytime soon. On the other hand, there’s no time like the present to get started. According to WebMD, deep breathing for even 30 seconds can “help you feel more relaxed and in control.” And building consistency brings the most benefit so why not start now?

Self-care comes in many forms (click here to read more). So, why not give it a try and share your results in the comments?

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The home of 31 Days of Seeking Self-Care is on my Instagram feed. Click to find my feed or look in the sidebar.

31 Days of Seeking Self-Care

👉All month long, on Instagram (@myconcretedove), I’m hosting 31 Days of Seeking Self-Care for family caregivers. Every day, in my feed, stories, or reels, I’ll post about different types of self-care. We don’t get to stop on day 32. Our goal is to explore self-care and discover what works best for you to develop a habit of self-care in the months & years ahead. 

Click here to get the 31 Days of Seeking Self-Care Calendar

Linkups this week: Grace & Truth and Five Minute Friday

What is Box Breathing, Take Time for Breath Prayer, Breathing exercises for stress