Managing stress

Take care of yourself

You should not feel guilty about not staying at your loved one’s bedside 24/7. You also need to rest and let your loved one recover.

By taking care of yourself, you are also helping your loved one.

The care team will take care of your loved one and will contact you if there is a need or if there are any changes in his or her condition. Your presence at his bedside is beneficial, but it is when he / she wakes up and comes out of intensive care that he / she will need you the most. Know how to protect yourself. Critical Care can be a marathon and it is important to take it easy so you don’t break down.

Don’t hesitate to discuss the subject with the care team and to tell them about any concerns you may have when you leave your loved one’s room. This can help you feel secure enough to take the time to take care of yourself.

If you don’t feel like eating, or if you have trouble sleeping, it’ s important to get help. Perhaps you have relatives around you who can help you with the groceries or cooking? Try to find someone to talk to about what you’re going through, don’t be alone in the situation. It can be a friend, a family member or a health professional: a doctor or psychologist.

If you are the next of kin

If the patient has a large group of family and friends, they are likely to be very concerned about the situation and will want to hear from them. While their presence can be a source of invaluable support, it may also be tiring for you to respond to each one individually. It may be helpful to organize a chain of information or to take turns passing on the news so that it is not all on you. Also allow yourself to step back and pass the baton when you feel the need to do so. Sometimes it’s important to think about something else and take a break from intensive care. The logbook, even if it is not its primary role, can also be used to relay this information.

Learn more about the logbook.

Some resources to explore according to your needs

What is mindfulness meditation?

Mindfulness meditation is a secular practice that involves intentionally focusing attention without judgment on the experience of the present moment. In concrete terms, it involves taking a few moments to direct our attention to our physical sensations, emotions, thoughts, environment, etc. This enables us to be more present and aware of our surroundings. This allows us to be more present to ourselves and to others, and less on automatic pilot. It also enables us to distinguish between what we are really experiencing, and what is the fruit of our mental constructs, judgments and comments, which often cause us unnecessary discomfort and even suffering. It’s a practice accessible to all, and can be learned through formal meditations (guided sessions) or informal practices (in everyday activities).

Why breathing exercises ?


Prendre quelques minutes pour respirer un peu différemment peut se faire avec deux approches un peu différentes :

  • soit respirer de façon naturelle, mais en conscience, c’est-à-dire en portant un regard curieux
  • sur notre respiration, en étant attentifs au sensations corporelles associées par exemple
  • soit respirer de façon contrôlée, en modifiant volontairement légèrement notre respiration

(en fonction des consignes, cela peut être en allongeant l’expiration par exemple, ou en intégrant de courts temps d’apnée entre l’inspiration et l’expiration, etc.)

Ces exercices ont deux utilités. D’une part, ils permettent de stabiliser son attention sur sa respiration – pendant ce temps, nous ne sommes alors plus occupés à ressasser des pensées ou élaborer des scénarios anxiogènes. D’autre part, ils ont un effet physiologique immédiat, qui dépend du type d’exercice pratiqué (ils peuvent permettre de diminuer le rythme cardiaque, de remobiliser son énergie, etc.).

La cohérence cardiaque fait partie de ces exercices. Elle consiste à inspirer et expirer sur une même durée (généralement 5 secondes). Elle permet de diminuer le rythme respiratoire et de synchroniser la respiration, le cœur et le cerveau. Le métabolisme se sent alors en sécurité, et dépense donc moins d’énergie.


Taking a few minutes to breathe a little differently can be done with two slightly different approaches:

  • either breathe naturally, but consciously, i.e. with a deliberate look at our breathing
  • on our breathing, paying attention to the associated bodily sensations, for example
  • or breathing in a controlled way, by voluntarily modifying our breathing slightly

(depending on the instructions, this can be by lengthening the exhalation, for example, or by integrating short periods of holding ones breath between inhalation and exhalation, etc.).

These exercises serve two purposes. On the one hand, they enable us to stabilize our attention on our breathing – during which time we are no longer busy replaying thoughts or elaborating anxiety-provoking scenarios. On the other hand, they have an immediate physiological effect, depending on the type of exercise (they can lower the heart rate, re-mobilize energy, etc.).

Cardiac coherence is one such exercise. It consists of breathing in and out for the same length of time (usually 5 seconds). It reduces the breathing rate and synchronizes breathing, heart and brain. As a result, the metabolism feels more secure, and spends less energy.

What is Petit BamBou ?


Petit BamBou is an application offering guided meditation and breathing sessions and tools for independent practice. Free to download, it offers free access to content to start or continue your practice on your own. Several subscription formulas then give access to the complete catalog of programs (sleep, emotions, youth, etc.).

Learn more about Petit Bambou