CARE For The Caregiver

Caring for a loved one is stressful, tiring, frustrating and also a very important and much needed role. It is job that you learn on the go. There is no ‘right’ way and it is a responsibility that requires constant adjustments. Most caregivers will also tell you, it is a role that comes with a lot of judgment.

 

As a caregiver, I admit to putting myself on the back burner many times. The more I did it, the more everyone suffered. I would feel extreme guilt for wanting to see my friends, go to a movie, or just have some me time. Outsiders always seemed to think I wasn’t doing enough, had their opinions on what I should be doing instead, however those that spoke out were never willing to show up and help.

 

What I have learned in my years of caregiving is that you cannot be an advocate for your loved one if you are not taking time for yourself. You are important. Your health is important. As the saying goes, you have to put on your oxygen mask first before you can assist someone else with his or hers.

 

 

The National Alliance for Caregiving has stated that more than half of all caregivers say they do not have time to take care of themselves, and just under half said they if they do, they are too tired to do so. 

 

It is important for family caregivers to find a personal routine that will elicit balance and recovery for one’s self. This will vary from individual to individual, and there is no right or wrong way. You have every right to focus on yourself at times while being the ringleader in this circus called caregiving.

 

Below are some ideas to help ease the pressures caregivers are under:

 

  1. Write: It is important to have an outlet for the stress and heartache that is endured each day while also remembering the positives that occur. Try writing down 1-3 things that you are grateful for at the start of each day. In the evening, reflect on the day. This is your chance to let it all out. And if possible, write something happy or funny that occurred during the day that will lighten the mood.
  2. Nutrition: Those we care for tend to be picky eaters if they still have the ability to consume food. Try quick, simple healthy meals that are easy to put together. I recommend Clean Eating for Kids. The recipes are easy to make and reminds our loved tend to revert back to wanting foods that remind them of their youth. Also, drink lots of water. It is easy to get caught up in caffeinated and sugary drinks, but water is so important to our organs, energy levels and overall health. Try adding some flavor to your water, this will also help your loved one stay hydrated.
  3. Set Boundaries: No your limits and don’t sway from them! If there is a family member that is on your case, limit their visits. (Hard to do but a must). This also means know when to ask for help. If something is out of your scope, or too much, ask someone who is capable and has the time. It is a difficult to ask for help but people are not mind readers, and the ones who dive in to assist you may surprise you.
  4. Movement: Many people neglect exercise because it can seem time consuming, or require too much energy. If you can get 20 minutes of activity in 3 times a week while your loved one is sleeping, watching TV etc. you will feel so much better. Overtime your energy will increase. You can even break those 20 minutes up into 5-10 minute increments throughout the day.
  5. Sleep: One of the most challenging aspects of caregiving. You hardly get any but if you can have a few thing you can do at night that help calm your body and mind the sleep you get will be so much more refreshing. Things to try; baths or aromatherapy, candles and 5 minutes of reading or soft music, meditation, and/or a cup of tea.

 

The goal of these self-care tips is to allow you to be more patient, less frustrated, and less resentful. Without these small recharging moments, the caregiving role can have the capacity to burn you out and leave you sick, depleted and unable to care for the one you love.

 

It is important to remember that caregiving does have its upsides too. There is an intimacy and deep bond that occurs with family caregivers that is not present in any facility. You know your loved one better than anyone else. You also can exchange untold stories, learn lessons about life, and feel a deeper love when that loved ones recognizes that you are there for them and only them.

 

There will be hard times but appreciate the loving experiences along your journey.

Just Be You!

Just a little #wellnesswednesday thought for you…

We are all unique.

We all have a chance to create IMPACT in this world.

We all have our own special talents and gifts.

We all have our own lessons to learn and will learn them at different times.

Our individual journey is meant to be.

Let’s all have more fun, celebrate each other and stop the comparison.

Can you imagine what we would each accomplish?

Own your individuality and celebrate the authenticity of others.

Happy Hump Day!

Who Are You…

                             …to tell me what I can and cannot do.

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That was the message Olympian Amy Van Dyken delivered when she accepted her award for INSPIRATION this past week at the IDEA World Fitness Convention.

 

The former world record holder, and the most successful athlete at the 1996 Olympic games, joyfully shared with us the ups and downs she endured growing up in the sport of swimming. She spoke of the struggles she faced in the Olympics games along with the ones surrounding her life changing accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down.

 

She sat confidently on the stage, comfortable and at peace with all that life has thrown at her and had us laughing with her, rooting for her, and wanting her to become our new BFF. She is a remarkably smart, beautiful and strong woman.

 

As I listened to her speak, I thought a lot about the things I endured up to this point in my life which fail in comparison to Amy’s story. However, reminded me that I can accomplish anything as long as I BELIEVE IN ME!

 

I was told I was to tiny to play soccer. I DID IT ANYWAY

 

I was told I was not fast enough to play basketball in college. I MADE THE TEAM.

 

I was told I would not get much playing time in college. I BECAME THE STARTING POINT GUARD

 

I was told I should not go to Africa. I CLIMBED MT. KILIMANJARO

 

I was told that I didn’t have the business knowledge to start my own business. I DID AND BOUGHT A BOOT CAMP AND I AM LAUNCHING ANOTHER THE END OF SUMMER.

 

I was told that I could not make a living as a writer. I AM A PART OF MANY PARTNERSHIPS AND COMMUNITIES THAT DRIVE REVENUE.

 

I may be slow, not as fast as others, I don’t have a business degree and many people can write more eloquently than I currently can but I have what others don’t have.

 

A VISION FOR MYSELF.

 

I will not succumb to what others perceive me to be. I will work hard, hustle, network and form relationships that align with who I am and where I am going.

AND YOU SHOULD TOO.

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So next time someone tells you that you can’t, or shouldn’t do something, look at them and say…

 

“Who are you to tell me what I can and cannot do!”

 

Click here for Amy’s acceptance speech. 

We Live In A World Looking For A Quick Fix

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I could go on and on about this topic but today a colleague share a brilliant post based on an article that was just published.

We live in a world with no patience and that lacks compassion on many levels. We don’t want to take the time to understand the problems we face and are too wrapped up in the day to day to realize the impact our daily activities will have on our future.

Recently there was an article published about an FDA approved system to help end obesity.

PLease read what Molly Pappas from Strong Girl Fitness has to say about this shocking ‘solution.’