For many family caregivers, the future is just too uncertain. Questions with no specific answers and abundant worries race through our heads. Questions like:
Will we have enough money to take care of our loved ones?
Will I have enough energy to make it through the day?
Will my loved one remember who I am?
Why has all of this responsibility been given to me?
How long will the demands of caregiving last?
What will people think of me if I don’t visit today?
All of these questions trigger other questions and we can find ourselves stressed out and overwhelmed over all these uncertainties.
It’s not realistic to think that you can be happy all the time.
We live in a culture where we tend to stuff our emotions and fears. We’re busy. We don’t take time to feel and process our emotions and fears.
Lately, I’ve been trying to become more in tune to my inner voice. I think she has been talking to me all of my life and I just tend not to really hear her anymore – she became background noise. Sometimes she’s my number one fan pushing me to try new things and take the next step toward my goals but other times I catch her doubting me or comparing me to others and holding me back.
We have this urge to be perfect, instead of recognizing we are enough. Social media doesn’t help. Facebook and Instagram show individual’s highlight reels of sweet family moments, beautiful bodies, happy relationships, and gourmet meals. Deep down we have to know that these individuals have struggles, insecurities, bad habits, and imperfections. We’re all human!
I don’t eat perfectly all the time. I get frustrated with my progress. I have a list of repetitive fears. I yell at my kids, and I can shut out or stuff my true feelings. (more…)
As family caregivers, we have to be ready for the unexpected. Organization will help you be ready because a caregiving crisis is always lurking. Unlike the children many of us care or cared for that eventually become more independent as they age, our aging parents we may be caring for are moving in the opposite direction, doing less physically and potentially remembering less mentally, eventually becoming completely dependent on us.
A caregiving crisis may be a trip to the emergency room but it could also be that urgent frustrating call from your loved one like they can’t make a donation online to the republican committee, they have no more diet ginger ale, they can’t get into their Facebook account, they completely ran out of disposable underwear or the Wifi isn’t working ( can you tell these have all been crisis of the day ’emergencies’ for me?!). After all we are often our caree’s primary shopper, tech support, and contact with the outside world. (more…)
I believe many family caregivers think of self-care as a weekend retreat, a night out with the girls or a relaxing day at the spa. Those activities do sound and are amazing! However, self-care can be a collection of tiny little daily habits that allow you to nurture and energize yourself.
In this post, I want to focus in on those daily self-care habits. The little things that you do or could do to take better care of you.
Does anything come to mind?
If you got a decent night’s sleep last night, that’s a good start. If you ate an energizing healthy breakfast this morning, you are starting to seize your day.
Wouldn’t be great to have some little self-care breadcrumbs sprinkled throughout your day for you to savor?
Chances are we all take better physical care of our smartphones than we do ourselves.
I’m not hating on the smartphone though as it’s a powerful little tool that helps caregivers in many ways.
We all have our phones with us wherever we go and there are some powerful tools we can take advantage of to make our caregiving days a little easier.
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…)
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…)
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’.
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:
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.