My recently published book ‘Caregiver Triumphant- How to overcome stress and thrive in your role as a caregiver addresses a number of areas on which we must pay attention in order to stay emotionally healthy.
In my daily life I stick to some basic principles learned many decades ago.
- I keep my life simple and uncomplicated.
- I learned to eat an elephant one bite at a time.
- I learned to prioritize and not become too overwhelmed
- I learned to take care of my physical, mental and emotional health.
As a young girl growing up in the Caribbean (third world country), life was challenging. We often had to fetch water from the springs, the well, from the stand pipes when it was available, both before and after school. We carried the water in a bucket on our heads and filled up the water drums for home use. In addition, we tended the livestock, swept the yard in addition to other household chores.
Life was tough; however, we were kept physically fit. We laughed at everything, we laughed a lot, often times laughing at ourselves. That laughter kept us grounded, sustained and kept us mentally, physically and emotionally healthy as well.
When chores were finished for the day, we made time to play even for a short time. Playing was lots of fun – that was our free time. We played “rounder’s” (known as baseball), we played cricket, hide and seek, pitched marbles and stuff like that. All of those activities were so very important in preserving our overall health while enjoying much laughter and fun.
I believe my tough upbringing and my ability to laugh is the foundation that sustains me in my role of care giving at present. To maintain your emotional health here’s 9 tips for you:
- Focus on positive thoughts only. Negativity weighs you down and adds to your stress level. Nobody wants that.
- Laugh. Laughter allows you to lighten your mind’s load. Let the load go, embrace the opportunity to laugh, feel relaxed and enjoy the moment.
- Exercise: Breathe deeply as you go for a walk, a run, a bike ride, go dancing, and go to the gym. Simply exercise! There are numerous forms of exercises – just do something for you.
- You need to connect with friends and family that you enjoy. Social interaction gives a tremendous boost to your spirit while you laugh and do something different.
- Take time to focus on yourself and rest. Allow your mind to go blank, just rest your mind, body and soul.
- Meditate. Meditation is a most wonderful way to keep in touch with your inner self and be connected to your core.
- Keep calm and peaceful.
- Think loving thoughts and do loving things for yourself and those around you
- Be grateful! Give thanks to God Almighty for the gift of life and for the many blessings that come your way
- Spirituality. Believe that the Grace of God Almighty will sustain you, guide you and keep you as you journey. God in his wisdom does not give us more than we can bear.