Category: Happy Days

3 Happiness Hacks Caregivers Can Start Today

happiness hacks

A guest post written by Beth Phillips, blogger and Happy Healthy Caregiver Community member

As caregivers, we are vulnerable to stress, exhaustion, anxiety and a variety of other factors that can lead to depression and other types of illness. We know that paying attention to our own health and happiness will give us the energy to care for others but it’s hard to find the time or energy when there are so many other things on our plates.

Lucky for us, there’s a lot of new science on happiness and it’s role in success, productivity and high performance. Even better, researchers have identified simple practices to increase happiness. Many of them can be executed in less than three minutes a day and the tangible, physical and emotional benefits can be realized in less than a month, if practiced consistently. (more…)

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How to make meditation a new healthy habit

Making Meditation a Healthy Habit

I have read and heard much about meditation, especially in recent years as our lives continue to get stuffed with so many demands.  ‘They’ say it can improve your life.

Once you hear that, how can you not try it?

The benefits of meditation

Then you hear about all the benefits of meditation.  Here are a few that captured me:

  • it reduces stress (Yes!  I need that!  What caregiver doesn’t?!)
  • it improves concentration and mindfulness (Ok, guilty of not always living in the moment…that sounds good.)
  • it encourages a healthy lifestyle and benefits cardiovascular and immune health (I want to maintain that!)
  • it increases happiness (wait, healthy AND happy…I’m sold!)
  • it slows aging (I’d like to be around longer especially if I’m healthy and happy!)
  • it increases self-awareness and acceptance (validation that I am enough is always welcomed.)

Top that list off with the fact that you never hear anything bad about meditation and then you really feel like you have to make this a new habit. (more…)

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Caregiver, it’s time to create your own bucket list

create own bucket list

Have you created a bucket list? In this post,  I’m going to share mine with you.  It’s my ’50 before 50′ bucket list.

So often I see caregivers put aside all their own dreams and goals in order to care for others.  I know their heart is in the right place when they make this either conscious or subconscious choice. We all have to do this from time to time in an urgent short-term situation. Caregiving is a marathon not a sprint. There is no way to know as caregivers how much energy we need to sustain and how much damage we are doing to our own physical and mental health by pushing this aside until ‘later’ or ‘someday’.

(more…)

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You Know You are a Caregiver When…

You Know You are a Caregiver When...

Sometimes you just have to laugh at your caregiving situation.  A little caregiver humor can go a long way!  When my sisters and I were packing my mom and moving her from her assisted living in Georgia to my sister’s home in Pennsylvannia, we created a group text called ‘It’s a Great day to give care’ (this is Susie’s mantra that she adapted from Grey’s Anatomy mantra ‘it’s a beautiful day to save lives’) and in this group text there are tons of random little texts that start with ‘You know you are a caregiver when…’.

A sense of humor is a major defense against minor troubles. – Mignon McLaughlin

Each time I read one of the texts or added my own, I knew that smiles where occurring and the day was looking a little brighter.  It’s a fun game to play when you are in a thick of some crazy, can’t make this s&%t up caregiver situation, and you are challenged to flip it on its side or upside down to discover the humor.  As caregivers we can’t change what happens to us but we can change and own how we react to situations.  Choosing to find the caregiver humor in situations will help you stay sane.

Ready for some caregiver humor?

I thought I’d share a few of my favorite ‘You know You are a Caregiver’ texts that were exchanged between me and my sisters:

(more…)

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20 Happy & Healthy Songs for your Workout Playlist

My Spotify workout playlist is constantly a work in progress.  I know for my music to continue to motivate me and keep me moving, I need to keep my workout playlist fresh and fun.  Music is a must for me during a workout because:

  • It offers a distraction – I forget how hard I’m working or how long I’ve been exercising
  • It makes me exercise to the beat! I try to add songs to my workout playlist that have between 120 and 140 beats per minute.
  • It speaks to my soul! I love songs about getting stronger, achieving greatness, and being happy.

Since we are all caregivers interested in achieving greater health and happiness, I am sharing ten of my favorite songs in each of these areas – happiness and health.

(more…)

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An early holiday gift filled with Irish blessings

irishblessingskilkenny

In a recent post, I shared that instead of showering our kids with holiday gifts, the past few years we have been investing in travel and enjoying the dividends in the form of lasting memories.  Read more about this family philosophy here if you missed the Traveling for Memories post as it will give you some background on why we do this and how we go about selecting a location.

I loved hearing one of the kids ask us to pull over so they could snap a picture.

Over the kid’s fall break (which is earlier than most places since we start school the first week of August) we went to Ireland. We purchased the 6 night package last winter from Travel Zoo.  The package included round trip flights from Atlanta to Dublin, one night in a hotel, 5 nights of bed & breakfast vouchers, car rental, and a mobile Wi-Fi device (this little buddy is a MUST have on your trip as it works in cars, pubs, B&B, etc.!).  My 15 year old daughter, Natalie, planned the general route we took and listed out the towns and attractions she thought looked interesting.  In her style, the itinerary was an over achievement but we knew that going into the trip.  We just liked having the list of options at our fingertips.  I used a web tool called Trello that also has an app and organized a list for each day with a card on the list for the details about each option, who recommended it, and any special notes.  I included a few tips that I got from Instagram and Pinterest searches, as well.  Once we knew the general route, I selected the bed & breakfasts based on TripAdvisor reviews about a month beforehand. (more…)

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Making myself a priority

making myself a priorityA guest post written by Jen Robinson, Lifewrangling blog

As parents we are always looking for ways to give our children opportunities.  We sign them up for sport, music, scouts, things that enable them to develop their talents and find enjoyment in learning new skills, working as a team and achieving their goals.  We realize the importance of this for our children.  Why then do we find it so difficult to understand the importance of these things for ourselves?  We often believe that we don’t have the time and stop doing those things that are good for our physical and mental health including healthy eating, exercise routines and hobbies.

It doesn’t have to be that way though and with a little bit of planning these important activities can return into our lives. (more…)

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Traveling for family memories

family travel memoriesEarly in our marriage, may be even before we were married, Jason and I had agreed that we would always use some of our time off to have our own vacation.  Coming from a big family, there are always events and family reunions to attend but it was important to us that we set aside focused family time together each year.  Before our children were part of our lives, we took some special trips to New York City, California and Grand Cayman.  Not to mention our honeymoon in Bermuda.

Traveling with young children

Once we had our children our vacations primarily centered on trips to visit family.  Every summer, we have been to our family cabin in Hubbard Lake, Michigan and there have been several visits to Florida, Pennsylvania, Phoenix, and Washington D.C. areas to see my parents and our siblings.  One exception to the normal trips is when we jumped on an opportunity when Natalie was 10 months old to go see my sister Susie and her family in Botley, England.  Her husband Dave was there for a 2 year assignment and it was Susie’s 40th birthday and we were missing their 4 kids since they had moved away.  They had been in England long enough to show us all the local sites they loved.  Susie kept Natalie one day when we visited so Jason and I could take the train into London for a day on our own.

 

Bali Indonesia family trip
Mt Batur Temple

Our first big international trip as a family was BIG!  In June 2007, the four of us went to Bali, Indonesia.  (more…)

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The unexpected payback from expensive travel sports

benefits of travel sports

Just fishin’

Have you heard the Trace Adkin’s song ‘Just Fishin’?  Here’s one verse and the chorus:

“I say, “Daddy loves you, baby” one more time
She says, “I know. I think I got a bite.”
And all this laughin’, cryin, smilin’ dyin’ here inside’s
What I call, livin’

And she thinks we’re just fishin’ on the riverside
Throwin’ back what we could fry
Drownin’ worms and killin’ time
Nothin’ too ambitious
She ain’t even thinkin’ ‘bout
What’s really goin’ on right now
But I guarantee this memory’s a big’in
And she thinks we’re just fishin’”

— Trace Adkins

I love the story this song tells the listener.  It’s about a dad spending quality time with his daughter.  She’s excited to go fishing but he is older and wiser and knows this experience is so much more than fishing.  The video is really sweet.

Travel sports

Both of my teenagers are in travel sports.  My 13 year old son plays travel baseball and my daughter plays for a sand volleyball club.  With my husband and I both working full time and the extra family responsibilities I have with my mom, life is B U S Y.  I have to confess that I miss weekends at home just hanging out.  When Monday quickly surfaces, it’s tough to face a new work week after spending a weekend away.  We sacrifice the productivity of getting stuff done around the house and we feel like we had too little rest and relaxation.  Travel sports are also expensive!  I think we probably bought a small car this year between our two kids and their sporting equipment, club fees, and travel expenses.  But rather than go on and on about the negative stuff, I wanted to share a huge positive revelation I had this past weekend about travel sports. (more…)

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