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…)
Expert Interview – Ashley Poptodorova
Ashley Poptodorova herself is a natural energy source. Spend five minutes with this certified fitness professional and you’ll leave recharged and wishing you could wear yoga pants, tanks, and flip flops to work every day.
Ashley and her husband Alex have been my training team for two and a half years. A friend of mine was their client and I had watched her achieve amazing results. I was frustrated with where I was with my health goals, had tried dozens of diets and exercise regimes on my own, and decided I had had enough of navigating through all the different health and wellness information on my own and it was time to bring in the experts. When I first met them at a local coffee shop, I shed tears of frustration and they assured me that it would take time but that they could help. Little did I know then, what an emotional journey I would start. Soon after hiring them to create a personal nutrition plan for me and start my group strength training sessions, my mom was hospitalized and I’ve shared the rest of the story in several posts on my site (here and here).
Ashley is also a professional speaker and aspiring author who has such a drive and motivation for encouraging others to see the best in themselves. Ashley embarked on her own journey to health with the help of her husband Alex. At one time Ashley weighed 208 pounds and successfully lost 80 pounds. To me, Ashely is more than an expert, she is a friend. I strength train with her twice a week and she has pushed me to new heights, physically and emotionally, including sharing my personal stories and starting Happy Healthy Caregiver. She’s positive, encouraging, beautiful on inside and out…and the strongest woman I know!!! (more…)
I like the benefits meal planning and preparation affords me all week long more than I dislike the two hours it takes to plan the meals, go to the store, and prepare everything up for the week.
Have you tried weekly meal planning and preparation yet?
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…)
Each month, I have a one-on-one interview with a caregiver in the Happy Healthy Caregiver Community. I call each of these recorded conversations a ‘Caregiver Spotlight’. I started these because each caregiver journey is unique and I know every time I talk to another caregiver I learn something new and I leave that conversation knowing I’m not alone and feel a little bit stronger.
Beth lives in Pittsburgh, PA area and has been caring for her 80 year old elderly aunt in her home for almost 2 years. Beth has four teenagers and says she is married to ‘one of the nicest people she’s ever met’. Beth enjoys running and writing about interesting things on her ‘Being Home‘ blog.
Beth’s mother lives across the street which she says played a huge part in allowing herself to even consider taking this primary caregiver role on in the first place. In addition to her mom, Beth has lots of local support including her cousin and a doctor neighbor who willingly makes house calls.
Beth is also grateful Aunt Linda is overall pleasant, in spite of her progressing dementia and other ailments, including diabetes. (more…)
When I get way too hungry, or ‘hangry’, I tend to make bad food choices. You know what I’m talking about..the ice-cream, popcorn, sour patch kids, potato chips or french fries. Having a few healthy snacks with me at all times helps keep me on track for my nutrition goals. I also take a bottle of water with me wherever I go.
Throughout our caregiving journey, we are developing so many new skills and collecting more resources than we know what to do with.
It can feel like we are getting our ‘masters in caregiving’ and preparing to write a thesis!
Getting her ‘masters’ was an expression that Colleen Kavanaugh, Certified Caregiving Consultant, used to explain why after a decade of caring for her own parents she decided to pursue a career in caregiving.
Whether we like it or not, caregiving changes us.
Like many of you, I’m a working caregiving mom in a fairly sedentary job.
I sit at my desk or sit in meetings most of the day…five days a week.
Even though I try to exercise several days a week, I’m constantly looking for simple ways to squeeze more fitness into my workday.
Each month, I have a one-on-one call with a caregiver in the Happy Healthy Caregiver Community. I call each of these recorded conversations a ‘Caregiver Spotlight’. I started these because each caregiver journey is unique and I know every time I talk to another caregiver I learn something new and I leave that conversation knowing I’m not alone and feel a little bit stronger.
This month, I spoke to Cindy who lives in Georgia with her husband and two daughters. Cindy knows the challenges well of helping to care for aging parents out-of-state while juggling a job and being involved in your children’s busy lives. Cindy helped her mom care for her dad who suffered from Alzheimer’s. He passed away 3 years ago. Cindy is currently the primary caregiver for her mom who lives in Florida and she is planning to move her mom close by. This is no easy task since her parents had a independent business and lived in their home for 48 years. (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’.