Reiki and the 'sandwich generation'
Do you belong to the 'sandwich generation?' You’re mid-life and in the middle of caring for both children and ageing parents. Perhaps you’re also working in a stressful role and having some health issues. You feel squashed and squeezed, with no time or energy for yourself. Reiki is a therapy that people often turn to when they are feeling overwhelmed and need to stop the world for a little while. Let’s find out how the holistic nature of Reiki can support you when you feel this way.
When we are going through a stressful time, we often have a lot of physical symptoms, such as a racing heart, muscle tension, perhaps a tight jaw or clenched fists, amongst other things, and these symptoms can often be a barrier to us being able to switch off or go to sleep. Sometimes, if we have become out of touch with our bodies, we may not even be aware of how tense we are.
What happens in a Reiki session?
When you have a Reiki session, you’re asked to sit in a chair or lay down on a massage couch, and typically you’ll maintain one position for the whole session and won’t be asked to move around. With no distractions, this can be the first time someone tunes in to their body and notices aches and pains. With this awareness, it’s possible to begin to consciously relax areas of the body and get some respite from those physical symptoms.
Often I’ll see people visibly relax in the first fifteen minutes, so shoulders will drop, hands will unfold, and sometimes people will release a deep sigh, letting go of tension in that way.
When we are overwhelmed, we have a lot of mental distractions. We may be thinking about our to-do list, the demands upon us, what we have said or should have said, and our worries about the future. As the body begins to relax during Reiki, there is sometimes a short mental struggle where the mind continues to whirl. But, in a setting where there’s silence or relaxing music and there’s no chat apart from a consultation at the start of the session, what often happens is that the mind will quickly follow suit.
People fall asleep during Reiki, or they will perhaps drift in and out of sleep during the session or enter a meditative state - a kind of positive, pleasant daydream.
This change in mental state results in feelings of being refreshed.
Sometimes, people will go home and have a nap, and an evening Reiki session may be beneficial in preparing you for a more relaxed experience at bedtime. Other people will feel more energised after their appointment, and choose to have Reiki in the morning.
Emotional demands on us also contribute to the feeling that it is all too much. We may be experiencing conflict with others, or trying to please everyone else and sacrificing our own needs. Taking time for a Reiki session is a positive action to regain control, to set boundaries with your time and energy and to communicate to yourself and to others that your needs are important.
Once we take the step to promote our self-care and check in with our body and mind, we may find that we begin to make other positive changes, such as introducing more exercise, or a more healthy diet, drinking more water and relying less on alcohol, caffeine and sugar, or trying out another complementary therapy that makes us feel better.
Reiki is always given in the spirit of unconditional love – without the expectation of anything in return – which is spiritually restorative because it reassures you when you might be feeling that the world is against you, that you have permission to receive and that there is care and attention and trust available to you.
Once you open up to receive like this, it may be easier for you to seek out additional sources of help too, so that you don’t continue to spread yourself too thin!