Moment by Moment: Taking Care of Ourselves

August 18, 2022

Our Executive Director, Suzanne Buchanan, Psy.D., BCBA-D is frequently called on to counsel families dealing with a range of emotionally-charged experiences from new diagnosis to navigating services to behavioral crises and has presented workshops on mindfulness and the importance of self-care for caregivers for decades. Here she offers some resources and basic tips to support caregivers’ mental health and resilience.

Caregivers have so much to worry about and so much to do. It can be truly overwhelming. And, who’s taking care of the caregiver? You already know this answer: You have to take care of yourself.

But how can you take care of yourself when you don’t have the time or the emotional fortitude at the very moments when you need them the most?

Take it moment by moment.

“Life is a series of moments. The quality of attention and action that we bring to each moment determines the quality of our lives.”

— Dan Millman

Paying attention to these moments is at the core of mindfulness and can help you cope during difficult times.

There are many types of moments.

  • Caregiving moments
  • Overwhelmed, sad, worried, and scared moments
  • Irritated and angry moments
  • Getting pulled in 10 different directions moments
  • Learning moments
  • Planning moments
  • Connecting moments
  • Calming moments
  • Joyful moments

In each of these moments, you can kindly notice where your attention is. Is your attention in your mind? In your expectations? In your physical sensations? In a moment from the past? In a moment in the future? In the present?

If you can hold your attention on this moment (whatever it may be), see if you can respond to it as you would to a good friend. With kind attention. With compassion for your suffering. With a nonjudgmental acknowledgment of your experience. With a cautious optimism that things will get better. With a celebration of what is right in the world.

Noticing and kindly responding to our experience of each moment can increase our awareness. It gives us the precious opportunity to approach more moments with compassion, validation, centeredness, and clarity to make the best of this one and the next one.

To learn more about mindful awareness, check out the library of great content in the Ten Percent Happier newsletters (free).

To experience a guided meditation, check out these free resources:

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If you have questions or need additional information or resources, our 800.4.AUTISM Helpline is available. Email, or use the chat/messaging feature at the bottom of your screen.

Originally posted: 3/19/2020
Updated: 8/18/2022