Tag Archives: stress

How to Heal Yourself after Experiencing a Trauma

Healing yourself after experiencing a trauma allows you to move on with your life in a much stronger position as you would have learned from your experiences.

healing-emotional-trauma

 

Although traumas might involve physical injuries and damage, they can also be emotional.  If you do not address this issue the results of these emotional experiences can last for years.

Let’s focus on the emotional aspects of trauma and what you can do to expedite your recovery. You should take some time to look back at your life and see if there are any old hurts that could use your attention. You can also use this as a guide the next time you experience an intense situation that leaves you emotionally smarting for a while.

 

Practice these trauma coping strategies to help you heal:

the-scars-you-cant-see

  1. Compliment yourself on making it through. You’re here and you’re alive. Whether your trauma involved only emotions or physical injury as well, the fact is that you’re strong enough to have survived.
  2. Allow time to recuperate. You may not be completely recovered by next week. Healing from emotional trauma takes time and rest. In the evenings after work, allow yourself some time to relax.
  3. Take it easy on yourself. Depending on your emotional trauma, you may still be going to work and carrying out your everyday life while you’re healing. Maybe you didn’t finish every task you wanted to complete while at work. Remind yourself that you’re doing what you can to get better and will soon be as efficient as ever.
  4. Think positive. Long known to conquer many afflictions, thinking positive thoughts will help you speed up your healing. When you’re thinking troubling thoughts like, “I feel so sad today,” remind yourself, “I’m taking important steps each day to feel better.”
  5. Find moments in each day to do what you like to do. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes a day, sit outdoors and watch the birds, work on the bookshelf you’re building, or check out your social media websites. Staying in touch with the things you love will speed your recovery.
  6. crying-sad-tearsLet yourself cry. If you feel emotions building up inside you, it’s quite natural to want to release them by having a good cry. Crying will provide some relief and help you leave some pain behind you. Go ahead and cry.
  7. Listen to the music you love. Nothing brings joy to the soul in quite the same manner as music. Your prescription is: listen to music each day for at least 15 minutes. Some days you’ll find yourself extending that time a bit and may even singing along. Music will help you heal.
  8. Pamper yourself. If ever there’s a time to indulge in the creature comforts you love, it’s whenever you’re healing from trauma. On your day off, lie on the couch and read a book. Play games all day with your kids. Take a nice long walk with your best friend.
  9. Watch situation comedies on television. Laughing is good for your emotional healing process. You’ve probably seen a few comedies that you find humorous and entertaining. Now’s the time to ensure you watch a few every week. This is a bit of healthy escapism.
  10. emotionaltraumaIncorporate physical movement into your day. Provided the doctor says it’s okay engage in some physical activity each day. Go for a swim, lift weights, or get on the treadmill. Physical exercise releases endorphins, the “feel good” hormones.
  1. Surround yourself with the people you love. Play with your kids; talk with your partner; call your best friend. Invite your brother over for a visit.  Remind yourself of all the positive people you have in your life and take advantage of their loving care and support.

 

  1. Recognize when you need professional help. Allowing your emotional injuries to prevent you from living a full life is unproductive at least after the initial few weeks or months. Instead, call a local mental health professional to help you sort through your challenging times.

 

emotional-pain

 

Healing emotionally after a trauma takes time, patience, and effort.  Put the above strategies into action and speed up your emotional recovery. Trust that you’ll be better soon and discover the rich, full life that’s waiting for you.

Dance for Relaxation Improve Your Health

model dancingWith summer upon us we should all be looking for fun things to do with friends.  How about dancing? Have you danced lately?  Dance for relaxation improve your health.

Caregivers work tirelessly and need time to relax and recharge their spirits.  Dance has powerful healing effects on the mind, body and emotions.  Dance movements provide healing benefits that help to keep you calm.  Dance is a great way to help keep you in shape.

Here are 10 reasons to participate in dance

  1. You enjoy yourself through dance and keep physically fit. Dance exercises your body to allow for increased circulation. It helps burn calories away while improving your stamina
  1. confidence danceWhen you dance you increase your confidence and self esteem through freedom of movement. Dance elevates your mood by raising your endorphin levels. This allows you to heal stress and depression.  It helps to establish your self-confidence and self-discipline. It improves the harmony between your mind and body, resulting in a sense of well-being.
  2. Dance provides a way to keep your muscles toned your joints healthy and enhances your strength and flexibility. It helps to keep your joints lubricated for the prevention of arthritis
  3. balanced dance postureDance improves your posture and balance. It is a great way to keep your Central Nervous System and Peripheral Nervous System in good shape by improving the connection of your body to your mind.
  4. Dance makes you happy as your personality shines through your expression.
  5. You meet new people and make new friends.  Friends help you grow, make you laugh and support you as you learn.
  6. You improve your overall health.  Dancing has no cultural barriers. People from every corner of the world, with different ideologies, meet on the dance floor. Cultural interaction improves your health by expanding your mind and sharing your spirit!
  1. dance balanceDance improves your balance. Balancing yourself in one position may be easy, but balancing in the numerous types of positions involved in dancing is much more difficult. Dancers have mastered the ability to balance themselves in a number of positions. This strengthens your stabilizer muscles, while protecting your core keeping you less prone to injury in your daily live.
  2. dance to boost memorythDance improves your memory by making you recall steps, routines and dance patterns. This is a great mental exercise for your brain. The big benefit is that increasing mental exercise keeps your mind young, quick, alert and open.
  3. Dance is fun. It encourages good grooming for better health.

This summer, take a load off, go dancing and have much fun.  Embrace time set aside for doing whatever you wish to do.  Go dancing and stay forever young.

Natural Healers Humour and Laughter

Caregivers are often first in the line of fire and endure a tremendous amount of stress.  We can use natural strategies to keep calm and collected.  Humour and laughter are two of the best and easiest ways to lkde-stress.  Neither of these actions cost anything and comes naturally with little effort.  It is much easier to laugh than to cry or get angry.

child laughingLaughter is natural therapy that relaxes your mind and body.  It works like a charm every time and it cost nothing to simply laugh.  Laughter does a world good for your body.

One of my very favourite things to do is to laugh.  Laughter helps me to stay calm and remain grounded.  The more I laugh the better I am able to cope with my many challenges.  Many years ago, a co worker laugh bagbrought a laughing bag to work.  When we were stressed out having to prepare rushed assignments we took time out to play the laughing bag.  After a few minutes of continuous, belly laughing it’s amazing how we were able to get the job done on time.

I learned that I could not function and produce great results under stress.  I learned to be easier on myself and in doing so I will accomplish better results when in a relaxed state of mind.

What makes laughter so good for us?

Laughter brings many benefits to the body in many different ways.  Here are some benefits of laughing.

 

  1. living longerLive longer

According to some recent research published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, elderly optimistic people, those who expected good things to happen (rather than bad things), were less likely to die than pessimists. In fact, among the 65-85 year-old study participants, those who were most optimistic were 55 percent less likely to die from all causes than the most pessimistic people.

 

  1. elderly socializingSocialize and Laugh with others

When we laugh with others rather than laugh alone not only do we enjoy the laughter we create an opportunity for others to laugh and immediately we all forget about the stresses and disappointments we are facing.  Laughter is therefore positive and powerful in maintaining your health.

  1. people make me laughCreate opportunities to laugh

Hang out with funny people that make you laugh and whose company you enjoy

Go walking with friends that are light hearted, funny and enjoy a good laugh

Watch a funny movie

Have lunch with a funny friend

 

When dealing with difficult times no one wants additional stress.  Keep your mind and body as relaxed as you possibly can.

Try incorporating more humour and play into your daily life.  This can have a positive effect on your love relationships as well as your connections with co-workers, family members and friends.   When you incorporate humour and laughter in relationships you will

  • be spontaneousBe more spontaneous. Humour gets you out of your head and away from your troubles.
  • Let go of defensiveness. Laughter helps you forget judgments, criticisms, and doubts.
  • Release inhibitions. Your fear of holding back and holding on are set aside.
  • Express your true feelings. Allow suppressed emotions to rise to the surface.

A good way to bring more humour into your life is to have a pet.  Pets bring more laughter and joy to our lives and, in addition having a pet is good for your mental and physical health.   Studies show that pets can protect you depression, stress, and even heart disease.

count your blessingsIt’s never too late to introduce something new to our lives so let’s begin:

  • Count your blessings. Write a list of the good things in your life for which you are grateful.  Focus on them.
  • Flash a smile to people that cross your path.  Smiling is the beginning of laughter and like laughter, it is contagious.
  • If you hear laughter move in that direction, seek it out. It might present an opportunity for you to share in a laugh as well
  • Spend time with people that laugh on purpose. People that laugh easily both at themselves and at life’s absurdities. People that find humour in everyday events.
  • Bring humour into conversations. Ask if anyone has a funny story they wish to share.

 

people make me laugh 1How do I develop a sense of humour you might ask?

For starters you take yourself less seriously; lighten up and choose to laugh rather than to cry and panic.  When faced with situations that seem to be so bad at that moment taking a time out to evaluate the problem often times brings a clearer perspective.  In the end you realize that the problem was not all that bad.  Try to lessen your stress.  Do not allow stress to stand in the way of your humour and laughter.   Breathe deeply and relax and laugh.

How to Get Rid of Chronic Insomnia

Before you can effectively treat a symptom the cause of the symptom must be identified.  In the case of chronic insomnia you need to find the root cause so you will need to answer the following questions:

  • chronic insomnia syndromeWhat is preventing you from falling asleep?
  • Are you stressed out and why?
  • When did you first start having problems with sleep?
  • Does this lack of sleep happen all the time or is it on and off?

It is possible you might have other health issues that are preventing you from sleeping?

  • How is your mood?
  • mood disorderDo you experience high and low mood changes?
  • Do you feel depressed?
  • Do you feel anxious whether or not you are under stress?

Stress is not the only factor that interferes with your sleeping.  A mood disorder such as depression can be the cause of your insomnia as well.

Once you’ve narrowed down what is preventing you from sleeping, whether it is stress or depression you now focus on making changes that would help to alleviate some of life’s daily stress and introduce a more relaxed way of life.

When something is not working for you it is necessary to introduce changes.  You can’t keep female joggerdoing the same things to expect a different result, so let’s introduce some changes below:

  • Physical exercise – go for a brisk walk out in the open air, breathing deeply in and out
  • Let go of everything that’s weighing you down, let your mind go blank
  • Meditate and relax
  • Focus on you and your needs
  • Take a warm bath or shower just before bed
  • Schedule a time for you to go to bed each night and wake up at the same time each morning
  • comfortable room and bedYour bedroom should be dark and comfortable
  • Find your comfortable position lying flat on your back, breathe in through your nose and out through your lips
  • Feel your body melt into the mattress as you drift off to sleep
  • Enjoy 8-9 hours of sound, restful sleep.

Sleep helps us to maintain a healthy immune system and also to balance our appetite by helping to regulate levels of the hormones ghrelin and leptin.  Both of these hormones play a role in our feelings of hunger and fullness.  When we’re sleep deprived, we tend to eat more, and in so doing our action can lead to weight gain.

good sleep 1

 

When we sleep for 8 hours our bodies get the chance to rest and recuperate from the toils of the day. Those 8 hours of sleep play a direct role in how full, energetic and successful the other two-thirds of our lives can be.

Why Cant I Sleep?

Do You Have Sleep Apnea?  

What is Sleep Apnea?   sleep apneaSleep Apnea is a serious sleep disorder that can be potentially dangerous as your breathing repeatedly stops and starts while you’re asleep.

snoring and sleep apneaIf you snore loudly while sleeping and wake up feeling tired after you’ve slept for a full night, you probably have sleep apnea.

 

There are three main types of sleep apnea identified as follows:

  1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea: This is the most common form and happens when your throat muscles are relaxed;
  2. Central Sleep Apnea: Your brain is not sending the proper signals to the muscles that control your breathing;

 

3.complex sellp apneaComplex Sleep Apnea Syndrome: A combination of both   Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Central Sleep Apnea.  (Complex sleep apnea syndrome is also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea).

There may be some similarities in the signs and symptoms in the different types of sleep apnea.  When your body is not functioning in a healthy manner, more than likely something is not working well; it means something is wrong and you should pay some attention to your health –  check it out with your doctor.

It is always advisable to consult with your family doctor if/ when you experience any of the following signs and symptoms:

  • snoringLoud snoring
  • Your breath stops and starts
  • Shortness of breath on waking up abruptly
  • You have a headache
  • You are unable to sleep
  • Your mouth is dry and you have a sore throat as you wake up
  • You are always sleepy during the day
  • You feel irritable
  • Your attention span is limited.

 Obstructive Sleep Apnea – What is the Cause?

When you sleep, the muscles in the back of your throat relax. These muscles support the soft palate, the triangular piece of tissue hanging from the soft palate (the uvula), the tonsils, the side walls of the throat and the tongue.

blocked airwayWhen the muscles relax, your airway narrows or closes as you breathe in and you cannot get adequate breath in.  When you are unable to breathe properly, the level of oxygen in your blood might be lowered.

As your brain senses this inability to breathe it briefly rouses you from sleep so that you can reopen your airway.  Usually this happens so fast that you don’t even remember anything.

During your sleep you sound like you are snorting, choking or gasping and, this pattern can repeat itself all night long, five to 30 times or more each hour.

With these kinds of disruptions your ability to maximize the required deep, restful sleep is definitely impaired. You will no doubt feel sleepy during the day as you did not get to sleep deeply and soundly during the night.

However, people with Obstructive Sleep Apnea may not be aware that their sleep was interrupted. In fact, they might think they slept soundly all night when the opposite is true.

Central Sleep Apnea – What is the Cause?

central sleep apnea 1Central sleep apnea is a less common form of sleep apnea.  When your brain fails to transmit signals to your breathing muscles it is called Central Sleep Apnea. This means you make no effort to breathe for a short period of time. You may wake up with shortness of breath; have a difficult time getting to sleep or staying asleep.

Risk factors

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Sleep apnea can affect anyone, even children. But certain factors increase your risk of sleep apnea:

Obstructive sleep apnea

  • Excess weight.People who are obese have four times the risk of sleep apnea that people who are a normal weight people do. Fat deposits around your upper airway may obstruct your breathing. But not everyone who has sleep apnea is overweight.
  • Neck circumference.People with thicker necks may have narrower airways. For men, the risk increases if neck circumference is 17 inches (43 centimeters) and larger. In women, the risk increases if neck circumference is 15 inches (38 centimeters) or more.
  • A narrowed airway.You may have inherited a naturally narrow throat. Or, tonsils or adenoids may become enlarged and block the airway, particularly in children with sleep apnea.
  • Being male.Men are twice as likely to have sleep apnea. However, women increase their risk if they’re overweight, and their risk also appears to rise after menopause.
  • Being older.Sleep apnea occurs significantly more often in older adults.
  • Family history.If you have family members with sleep apnea, you may be at increased risk.
  • Use of alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers.These substances relax the muscles in your throat.
  • Smokers are three times more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea than are people who’ve never smoked. Smoking may increase the amount of inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway. This risk likely drops after you quit smoking.
  • Nasal congestion.If you have difficulty breathing through your nose — whether it’s from an anatomical problem or allergies — you’re more likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea.

·       Central sleep apnea

  • Being older.Middle-aged and older people have a higher risk of central sleep apnea.
  • Heart disorders.People with congestive heart failure are more at risk of central sleep apnea.
  • Using narcotic pain medications.Opioid medications, especially long-acting ones such as methadone, increase the risk of central sleep apnea.
  • People who’ve had a stroke are more at risk of central sleep apnea or treatment-emergent central sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is considered a serious medical condition. Complications may include:

  • Daytime fatigue.The repeated awakenings associated with sleep apnea make normal, restorative sleep impossible. People with sleep apnea often experience severe daytime drowsiness, fatigue and irritability.
  • You may have difficulty concentrating and find yourself falling asleep at work, while watching TV or even when driving. People with sleep apnea have an increased risk of motor vehicle and workplace accidents.
  • You may also feel quick tempered, moody or depressed. Children and adolescents with sleep apnea may do poorly in school or have behaviour problems.
  • High blood pressure or heart problems.Sudden drops in blood oxygen levels that occur during sleep apnea increase blood pressure and strain the cardiovascular system. If you have obstructive sleep apnea, your risk of high blood pressure (hypertension) is greater than if you don’t.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea may increase the risk of recurrent heart attack, and abnormal heartbeats, such as atrial fibrillation. Obstructive sleep apnea also increases the risk of stroke. If there’s underlying heart disease, these multiple episodes of low blood oxygen (hypoxia or hypoxemia) can lead to sudden death from an irregular heartbeat.
  • Type 2 diabetes.People with sleep apnea are more likely to develop insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes compared with people without the sleep disorder.
  • Metabolic syndrome.This disorder is a collection of other risk factors linked to a higher risk of heart disease. The conditions that make up metabolic syndrome include high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol, high blood sugar and an increased waist circumference.
  • Complications with medications and surgery.Obstructive sleep apnea is also a concern with certain medications and general anaesthesia. People with sleep apnea may be more likely to experience complications following major surgery because they’re prone to breathing problems, especially when sedated and lying on their backs. Before you have surgery, tell your doctor that you have sleep apnea and how it’s treated.
  • Liver problems.People with sleep apnea are more likely to have abnormal results on liver function tests, and their livers are more likely to show signs of scarring. This is a condition known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
  • Sleep-deprived partners.Loud snoring can keep those around you from getting good rest and eventually disrupt your relationships. It’s not uncommon for a partner to go to another room, or even on another floor of the house, to be able to sleep. Many bed partners of people who snore may be sleep-deprived as well.o

The risk factors associated with Sleep Apnea shared as posted on the Mayo Clinic Website:

Love Yourself First

 

 

Your health should be considered your first priority.  During Health Awareness Self priority Mark TwainWeek take the time to love yourself first and pay attention to your own health.  Only you are responsible for your health; make yourself your No. 1 priority.

 

 

Good sleep habits will impact your overall health in a positive way.  When you’re sick you need to get enough sleep so your body can heal and regain your strength.  The same is true on a regular basis. Getting enough sleep is of paramount importance in maintaining your health.

Sleep affects how you look, how you feel  and how you produce/perform on a daily basis.

Treat your body with love and kindness.  You can only be effective in helping others when you take care of yourself, first.

 

 

 

 

 

Ontario Disability Support Program & Mental Illness

Persons suffering from Mental Illness will be stress relieved as Ontario simplifies medical reviews for people on disability support  Read more.

It is always refreshing when our elected officials understand the issue at hand and take a more simple action to lessen the stress level on persons suffering from mental illness.

What is the Definition of Mental Illness?

mental health problems 2Mental illness includes of a wide range of mental health conditions; it is disorders that affect your mood, your thinking, your behaviour.  Some examples of mental health are: anxiety disorders, depression, schizophrenia, eating disorders and addictive behaviours.

Many people have mental health concerns from time to time, however, in spite of having these mental health concerns, they are reluctant to address the area of mental health with a qualified professional.  It is advisable and encouraged to have mental health check-ups so your concerns can be addressed and managed. Symptoms left unmanaged, will eventually become an illness.

mental health check up

Most people have an annual check up with their family doctor.  If you have any concerns about your mental health you should speak with your family doctor and ask for a referral to a qualified professional in the field.  Ongoing stress will affect your daily life. Pay attention to your mental health if you are experiencing some of the signs and symptoms below:

mental-health-problemsSome examples of signs and symptoms are:

  • You’re feeling sad
  • You’re feeling confused
  • You’re not able to think or concentrate
  • You’re feeling fearful
  • You’re constantly worrying
  • You’re feeling extremely guilty
  • You’re experiencing extreme mood changes of highs and lows
  • You’re withdrawing from friends, family and activities
  • You’re experiencing significant tiredness, low energy or problems sleeping
  • You’re detached from reality (delusions), paranoia or hallucinations
  • You’re unable to cope with daily problems or stress
  • You’re having trouble understanding and relating to situations and to people
  • alcohol & drug abuseAlcohol or drug abuse
  • Major changes in eating habits
  • Sex drive changes
  • Excessive anger, hostility or violence
  • Suicidal thinking

In addition, symptoms of a mental health disorder can sometimes appear as physical problems, such as a stomach pain, a back pain, a headache, or other aches and pains.

See your doctor if you have any signs or symptoms of a mental illness.  Mental illness is a serious problem.  Take care of your mental health before it turns into mental illness.

suicidal thoughtsSuicidal thoughts and behaviour are common with some mental illnesses. If you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, get help right away:

  • Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
  • Call your mental health specialist.
  • Call a suicide hotline number — in the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
  • Seek help from your primary care doctor or other health care provider.
  • Reach out to a close friend or loved one.
  • Contact a minister, spiritual leader or someone else in your faith community.

Get help call 911

Suicidal thinking doesn’t get better on its own, get help.

How to help a loved one?

If your loved one has done self-harm or is considering doing so, take the person to the hospital or call for emergency help.

 

Wheel Dance Revives Your Soul

What is Wheel Dance?

Wheel dance brings freedom to persons with disabilities. Click on the video below (if you don’t see the video this link will bring you to it).

I was first introduced to Wheel Dance by my dear friend and colleague, Peter Busciglio, Coordinator of the York South Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada.  This invitation came through a flyer.   Even though I thought it was a very cool idea, I did not follow-up except for reading emails as forwarded by Peter from time to time.

Yesterday, February 13, 2016, was my ah ha moment as I opened an email sent by Peter with a video of Tony and his beautiful daughter Vanessa (check out their awesome video in the link here).   I was reduced to tears of happiness as I watched Tony, the proud dad share that very special dance at his daughter’s wedding.

The power of this video enticed me to embark on learning all I can about wheel dance and I invite you to learn along with me.  When one’s life is directly affected and occurrences hit close to home, undoubtedly, you pay attention.  That said, I wish to share this amazing experience as the spouse of someone whose life is affected by multiple sclerosis.

The introduction of wheel dance by York South Chapter is for sure making positive inroads with our members and it is hoped that more and more members will find and enjoy the many benefits from this incredible, enjoyable and possibly life changing activity click on this link for more inspiration.

wheel dance

Both of our members that practice wheel dance are affected by MS and are endeavouring to live and enjoy life as best they can  They are learning new skills not only for themselves but to the benefit of their families as well since disabilities in families affect the entire family.

The concept of  wheel dance brings enjoyment and freedom to those living with disabilities all over the world.  It provides an opportunity to be inclusive; it helps in improving the overall quality of lives to those living with disabilities no matter where you are (click link).

 

 

Disability Benefits in Canada & Terminal Illness

The Auditor General of Canada, Mr. Michael Ferguson, in his latest twice annual assessment of various federal government departments, agencies and programs  made reference to the long terminally-ill-person-2wait time imposed on Canadians with terminal illnesses.

The link below will take you to the article published in the Toronto Star on February 2, 2016 and a video in which Mr. Ferguson speaks on this issue, obviously unimpressed with the long wait time for the terminally ill.

Persons living with disabilities have to deal with and face life’s challenges on a daily basis. These challenges bring about a level of stress not only to the victims but extends to the families as well.

terminally-ill-person-3jpgFor this reason, I post this information to bring awareness of the additional unnecessary stress that terminally ill citizens and their families endure during a very difficult time of their lives.   If you know of anyone that’s affected by long wait time for disability benefits in Canada please encourage them to complain to their member of Parliament about this serious issue.

Keep in mind that the squeaky wheel gets the oil.  When there’s a problem and we say nothing, we do not complain about it, nothing will change.  However,  when we pay attention and complain loud enough, there will most likely be a resolution to the problem.  Change will take place.

Action-changes-thingsThe terminally ill should not be subjected to unnecessary stress waiting to be paid disability benefits.

Act now!  Click to read the report.

 

Five Helpful Tips to Avoid Caregiver Burnout

Caregivers are at increased risk for depression, anxiety, depressed immune function and even hospitalization. Care giving places a burden on your health.

caregiver in hospital.1If you are a caregiver, you know that this act of love has its costs. You stand to forfeit up to $650,000 in lost wages, pension and social security. Add to that is the personal cost to your well being, as your new demands leave you less time for your family and friends. You may give up vacations, hobbies, social activities and compromise the   quality of your own life.

caregiver planningSolo care giving compromises your ability to nurture yourself and others, so let’s take care giving out from behind closed doors. For your sake and the sake of those who count on you, please get some help. Caregivers are competent people who feel that they should be able to do this job. Yet, many soon find themselves unprepared and ill-equipped to manage the sometimes daunting tasks, such as managing a complex medical regimen or remodeling a house so it is wheel-chair accessible or even finding someone to stay with their loved ones so they can go out to a movie without worrying their relatives will fall on the way to the fridge.

inspirational quotes.2Instead of reaching out, caregivers become isolated. Many who assume the care giving burden fit the profile of the giving family member, who does not want to trouble others with their problems. Some fear the consequences of disclosing their new demands to coworkers or employers. Caregivers are further challenged by the cultural conspiracy of silence. Our youth-centered society turns a blind eye to the unpleasant and inevitable reality that all of us age and die. This leaves both caregivers and care recipients unprepared. Look no further than the path of Hurricane Katrina to witness the consequences of a lack of planning.

inspirational quotes1What can you do? Start talking about “what if” and make a plan.

1. Start with yourself. What will happen to you and your family if you become disabled or die unexpectedly? Do you have disability insurance? Do you have a will? Do you have a living will, and have you identified the person who will make the medical choices you would make if you are not in the position to do so?

2. Approach healthy family members. You can say, “I hope that you live many happy years in which you enjoy all of the pleasures you worked so hard to create.” Have you thought about what would happen to you in the event that you cannot live independently any more? What would happen if some medical event befalls you? Who would make your medical choices?

3. Look into community resources that support care giving. A day program, for example, helps your loved one by providing social connections with peers. Your community may even offer transportation to and from the program. Getting out of the house offers the additional benefit of getting bodies moving. Socializing and exercise are the two most powerful interventions that help your loved ones stay at their best.

Caregiver accepts help

4. Make specific suggestions to friends, family members and neighbors who want to help. You may even want to keep a “help list.” When they say, “Let me know what I can do,” you have a response: “Can you take Mom to her physical therapy appointment this week?” “When you’re at the store, can you pick up some apples and strawberries?” “Can you watch the kids for an hour so I can get to the gym?” Your well intention friends will appreciate specific ideas about how they can help.

5. Take care of your health. Get good nutrition, plenty of sleep, and regular exercise to stay in top health. Wash your hands regularly to prevent colds and flu. Manage your stress with laughter, a prayer or even a deep breath. Nourish your soul with a taste of activities that recharge your batteries such as writing in your journal or gardening. Finally, talk to your doctor if you feel depressed or anxious.

inspirational quotes.3The best strategies for effective care giving include preparation, acts of self-care and reaching out for help. That begins with the courage to start talking openly about care giving so you do not neglect your own health while caring for your loved ones.