Category: Mental Growth & Hobbies

Posthumous Advice From My Dad

PosthumousAdvice from my dad

I’ve been sitting on this advice for a few months and it’s time to release some of it into the universe.

My dad passed away 2 years ago this week. A death anniversary is melancholy yet I have this urge to do something in memory of this special person to continue to honor his life.

A few months ago, my cousin Meghan emailed me the collection of dad’s unpublished chapters intended to go into his next book. It seemed too special a gift to unwrap at the time, like a fine bottle of wine that deserves a special occasion. He had asked Meghan to review it because she has editing experience and he valued her opinion. Meghan was in the process of editing dad’s chapters when he passed away in 2014. (more…)

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6 Behaviors To Cultivate A Mindset Of Abundance While Caregiving

I first heard about the ‘mindset of abundance’ on a podcast and it allowed me to analyze why I like hanging out with certain people more than others in my personal life. I like moms who subscribe to this mindset who know that my kids can be smart, socially accepted, and athletic and their kids can too. I also like women who share great shopping deals or fat burning tips knowing that we all can look and feel our best. It’s not an either/or situation – we all can win at parenting, health, marriage and living a happy life.

This same mindset of abundance can be applied toward caregiving. (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’.


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A Gift for the Overwhelmed Caregiver that Keeps Giving

Caregiver Quotes
What do you give a caregiver to show them you care and are thinking about them?  What they really want is more time  and available hands to call when they are needed . But in our society where the demand of our time far surpasses the supply, it’s a struggle to be that helper we want to be to those caregivers we love.  Often times, I have heard the phrase, ‘Please let me know how I can help.’  I never even knew how to reply to that statement.  It may be well meaning but it’s not actionable.  Being a caregiver is tough stuff.  Often times caregiving is emotional draining and physically straining.  There are usually no warning signs when a caregiving crisis is approaching.  It’s reactive, urgent, and stressful.  We don’t know when or if things will improve and often times we know that our situation will probably get worse before it gets better . When a loved one has a disease or a chronic illness, the whole family is impacted in some way.  As caregivers, we all have those days, weeks, or even months when we feel like we are on a treadmill and no matter how hard we try to stay on top of it, the plates and pieces we are juggling fall and it feels like no matter how much we give it’s never enough.

I think a gift that continues to remind an overwhelmed caregiver that they are enough is a great gift.


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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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It’s like feeding a nest of hungry birds

Click the image to link to my sister’s (Susie Morrell) beautiful art gallery!

When people ask me how I’m really doing (not just a drive by how you doin’) it’s hard to put into words what this season of my life feels like.  This season where I’m being sandwiched between being the encouraging, present, and fun mom I want to be for my kids AND being the caring, respectful, and motivating daughter I want to be for my mom.  Oh, yeah and somewhere in this mix I want to be a romantic, loving, and supportive wife and a fit and healthy woman who successfully juggles a full time rewarding career and builds a mission rich profitable business on the side!  Feels crazy just writing it all out.  Like you, I want it all and I want life to feel harmonious.  It’s a big order to fill.

If you give a bird a worm

Since it’s difficult to describe a sandwiched life, I thought I’d try an analogy.  I often tell people that life is like a puzzle and you just have to figure out how all the pieces connect but reflecting on this now, this analogy is just way too simple.  After all, when you are putting together a jigsaw puzzle you have the luxury of evaluating one piece at a time. What I feel, and probably many of you do, is the constant pulling of different important and competing priorities that frankly are never satiated.  A better analogy for a mom in the sandwich generation is to think of a nest of hungry baby robins with mom flying back and forth to keep everyone well fed. (more…)

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Back to School, Back to You!

Back to school goal settingMy kids are already in their 2nd week of the school year!  I know, my Northern friends, we folks in Georgia start early!  Please note that we do end our school year earlier than most.  My kids are usually out of school before Memorial Day.  Not sure why our nation has to shift our school year based on the region of the country we live in.  It just is what it is.


Time for personal goal setting and reflection

In my eBook, The Savvy Sandwicher’s Survival Guide: How to care for YOUR health while caring for others (now available to my community members), I have a chapter where I dive into dreaming big and setting personal goals.  I call this chapter ‘Be a goal digger’!  In this chapter, I share one idea that works for me which is to revisit personal goals when my kids return to school.  Most Americans set goals as part of their New Year’s Resolutions.  I used to, too.  However, I found that once I got past New Year’s Eve and Day, I was in a post-holiday fog.  I had just emerged out of a crazed compacted time period where I was indulging more and moving less and frankly just wanted to get my Christmas decorations packed up.  After the holiday festivities, I just need to catch my breath.  I want to get back on track with my life but I don’t want to necessarily lay down new tracks!

When back to school season rolls around, my entire family is switching up routines and schedules.  So…it makes sense to find the pockets of time where I’m going to insert my healthy me time.  Quiet personal reflection time also tends to be more of an option while the kids are at school.  I suggest using ‘My Big Dreams’ worksheet included as a resource in the Happy Healthy Caregiver Community to get your dreams flowing.  In my ebook, which is also in the community, I share a few of my big dreams and also share my ’50 before 50 list’.  The ‘Big Dreams’ worksheet gets you to brainstorm around the four areas in the image below.Create Your Own Dream Worksheet

A simple self-assessment

So what does your current state of self-care look like?  My sister sent this tool to me recently. It’s called the Caregiver Self-Assessment Questionnaire and she found it on the PBS’s Caring for Your Parents webpage.  It’s a great tool to incorporate into your back to school reflection because it helps you evaluate if you are taking care of yourself – the caregiver.  I took the quiz and my ‘yes’ score totaled to ‘8’ which was on the fringe of a being in a high degree of distress.  Yikes!  I’m lucky that my answers to the questions about sleep and physical health are positive.  I gave myself a ‘7’ on current level of stress (1 is the lease amount of stress) but I feel like I could give this question a different score each week – sometimes each day!  I definitely don’t feel like I’m a ‘7’ consistently.  Right now, there is a lot of juggling of tasks and activities going on.   I just feel tired of the pace and often crave just being still.  Not to mention that the past few weeks I’ve been off my routine with vacation, the one year anniversary of my dad’s death, mom’s hospitalization (she’s home now!) and my kid’s starting a new school year.  For the overall health question, I gave myself a ‘4’ (again, 1 is the best score).  I’m definitely focused on overall improvements and have formed some great healthy habits over the past year.  I’m truly proud of what I have accomplished amidst so much crazy.

I love how this PBS quiz gives you specific action items you can take if your score falls within the high degree of ‘distress’ category. By all means, if you haven’t seen your doctor in over a year, finish reading this blog post and make your appointment. Identifying areas where you can ask for relief is another great next step.  Seeking support from others via a group may also provide a healthy outlet. I certainly hope you are finding some relief and encouragement from my blog and social media accounts. I know I find comfort and support by just knowing I’m not the only person in the world feeling the squeeze based on caregiving responsibilities. I also love that PBS and other respected organizations are promoting the importance of self-care and giving us permission to not feel guilty about caring for ourselves.

It’s as easy as 1…2…3!

Since I’m the teacher sharing knowledge, I want to end this post with some specific homework so that you can apply what you have learned:

  1. Decide when you are going to do your annual goal review and planning. Schedule this session on your digital calendar.
  2. Write down 1-3 personal goals for the current month. Schedule a monthly goal review session on your digital calendar.
  3. Write down your 1-2 personal goals for the current week. Block out time on your calendar for the activities related to your goal.

Once you complete these steps, I have no doubt you’ll be able to raise your Personal Development grade up to an A+ and I look forward to celebrating your success!

“Either you run the day, or the day runs you.”

– Jim Rohn

Time for Caregiver Self Care

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Seven ways to pay your health first and still be a super caregiver


©2013_SusieMorrell_title_6x6_ oil on panel_hlowres with self care text
My sister painted this! Click image to see her online gallery!

Finding the time to take care of your own health with all the competing priorities of work, children, and an aging parent is near impossible.  There is no lost time to be found in a ‘sandwiched’ life.  I’ve experienced first-hand what happens to a mother’s life (and father’s too!) when you put yourself last on the priority list.  My parent’s believed they gave us everything growing up – all our needs were met and many of our wants.  But because they did not prioritize their own health on their daily to-do lists, their health paid the ultimate price.  Starting in their 60’s the lack of attention they gave themselves caught up to them in countless hospital visits, numerous prescription drugs, and a compromised lifestyle that caused them to be dependent on others to help care for everyday activities like cooking, showering, and running errands.  I believe that my dad would still be with us and he and my mom would be enjoying their golden years and retirement savings by traveling and having the energy to maximize each day.  Witnessing these choices, led me to wanting a different lifestyle for myself and others. (more…)

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