Archive for February, 2015

Caring for the Caregiver

February 23, 2015

Many people are responsible for ailing parents or loved ones. Many are serving as caretakers in addition to working full- or part-time. This can lead to burn out, depression and physical illness for the caretaker. Now two people need help!

To avoid the double whammy of trying to nurse yourself while taking care of another, consider the following pointers for self-care from the Visiting Nurse Association of Southeast Michigan.

  • Prioritize your time.
  • Set realistic goals for your time. There’s always tomorrow.
  • Identify the main stressors in your caregiving role and find ways to cope with them.
  • Treat yourself to a therapeutic massage.
  • Eat and rest properly and exercise daily, even if it’s only for a few minutes.
  • Hire a teen or older adult for daily breaks.
  • Spend time with people who make you laugh.
  • Don’t take the ill person’s negative moods personally.
  • Ask for and accept help.
  • Develop a support system for yourself – and remember that you can feel supported and in touch with others on the phone and via email if your time is restricted.
  • Allow yourself to be less than perfect.
  • Take one day at a time.
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Practicing Mindfulness

February 12, 2015

Chances are, if you’re breathing, you’re experiencing varying levels of stress all within a 24-hour period. Perhaps you regularly judge your performance in life, work, and relationships. This pressure and consistent negative thinking puts you at a greater risk of anxiety and depression.

Mindfulness is one way to redirect yourself away from these thoughts. This meditative practice focuses on the present moment in a non-judgmental way. You begin to experience the world through a new lens, engaging all your senses.

How to Practice Mindfulness

Learn the art of mindfulness by following the steps listed below.

Focus and practice good breathing – First, sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Pay attention to what it feels like to breathe in and out. Relax your m ind and dismiss other thoughts. Notice your abdomen as it rises and falls with each breath. If your mind does begin to wander, redirect your thoughts back to the exercise.

Pay attentionĀ  to your senses – Focusing on your sense can be calming. Try this exercise while walking outside. Concentrate on what you hear, see, and smell. Take a deep breath. Direct your mind away from any negative or stressful thoughts.

Listen carefully to others – Truly listen to people you’re meeting for the first time and those you’ve known a long time. Hear what they’re saying with new ears. Consider what messages they are trying to convey.

Delay judgment – We tend to size people up immediately. When we are slow to judge others, we discover what’s special about the individual. In turn, we might be less negative about the world around us.

Mindfulness might seem awkward or uneasy at first. However, as you practice it every day for several months, it will begin to feel more natural. Dialing down the stress level is always beneficial so when you practice mindfulness, great things can happen.