All Things to All People

Adult Daughter Visiting Senior Mother Sitting On Sofa At Home

Ok, fess up. You have a tendency to feel you need to be all things to all people. It’s the curse of the Caregiver. People see you as capable, dependable, and willing to help. So, of course, they look to you when they need answers or help. They’re not going to get rejected by you. And the truth is, you enjoy being a problem solver.

But, it takes it’s toll, doesn’t it? Today, starting now, give yourself permission to think of yourself first, more often. It takes practice. Old habits and your nurturing nature are strong opponents. I know, I’ve been struggling with this myself for many years. But, the older I get, the easier it gets to step back and let things run their course. To not volunteer to get in the middle of other peoples stuff, just because you think you can help. You can be a good listener without getting involved.

Your life and your right to live it is just as important as anyone else’s. The time you spend giving where it’s necessary should be balanced by time you make for yourself in whatever way possible. And the unnecessary time you give away is just robbing yourself and those who really need you.

So what are you going to do for yourself today?

Until soon, I wish you love and some spare time.

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Quieting Your Mind

meditating

Taking the time to sit quietly, with no distraction and with your eyes closed, I’ve found is one of the best things one can do for themselves. I’m not talking about when you’re lying down to rest or before you fall asleep at night. You’re too likely to doze off and lose the benefit. I mean sitting in a comfortable chair with your arms by your side or in your lap, with your chin tucked slightly in so your head is not straight up but comfortably relaxed and just slightly forward. In this position you just do nothing, relax and let your mind go wherever it wants to wonder. You can listen to your breathing and distract yourself from your thoughts if you like. Just concentrate on your breath going calmly in and out through your nose. It’s amazing how restful this can be. Twenty minutes twice a day is ideal I’m told. It creates a calmness inside that Caregivers in particular need to relieve stress. It allows your brain to process pent up energy and release it. It’s something you do for yourself that benefits those around you, as well.

This is how I first started meditating. I had no formal training, yet I found myself able to reach a place of relaxation that I later recognized as the bliss meditators talk about. I didn’t reach the bliss very often back then, but even being close was enough to give me the relaxation I needed to reenergize myself. It helped to distance me from my daily routine for a short time. There would be noises outside and sometimes a fire engine blaring away, but that didn’t interfere with my mental state. I was able to ignore it and appreciate the quiet in my mind.

Later I took training at the Transcendental Meditation Center in Los Angeles. Since then I’ve really come to appreciate and understand much more about the value of meditation. There are many ways to meditate. I meet people who’ve trained in different ways who were seeking various results. The idea is the same. It’s a way to relieve stress and improve our lives.

I highly recommend that you take a few minutes for yourself each day and just sit quietly, breath easily, and relax your mind.

Until soon, I wish you love and relaxation.

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Know What to Expect

ask

It’s very helpful if we know what to expect when we’re Caregivers. Most of us take our loved ones to the doctor, go through the routine of checking them in, getting them weighed, taking note of blood pressure and comments by the doctor. We fill prescriptions and follow-up with the recommended care. What’s missing for us, often, is information on what we can expect in the days, weeks and months ahead.

I remember being uncomfortable asking a doctor what I could expect next, so I didn’t. But, I should have. It would have been very helpful if I had known what to expect next from my husband’s congestive heart failure, or my friend Eve’s Alzheimer’s. By the time I got to taking care of my dad, who had Parkinson’s Disease, I knew what to expect. I’d seen so much and felt comfortable asking for what I needed. A doctor, physician’s assistant, or a hospice nurse isn’t going to give you information you haven’t asked for. They have their job to do and don’t know what you don’t know.

By the way, they can’t see into the future. They can only give you guidelines, but that can be a big help. You need information about what stage of a condition your loved one is in so you can be prepared and plan. I had friends who spent a fortune putting in a walk-in shower and an electric chair to go upstairs only to use them for about a month before needing to move the spouse to a bed downstairs in the family room permanently. It’s not just the money, these remodels were very difficult to live with during the process. The frustration takes it’s toll on the whole family.

So don’t be shy, ask questions.

Until soon, I wish you love and peace of mind.

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Lost in the Minutia

focus

Most of the time, when Caregivers tell me they’re overwhelmed, it’s because they are looking at everything at once. They’re not separating themselves from the big picture and dealing with just one task at a time, mentally. Physically, we can only really do one thing at a time well, but mentally we get all jammed up with thoughts racing through our heads like lightning bolts. It’s the killer stress.

I like to use the expression “Just this” when I’m feeling like “stuff” is piling on. If you talk to yourself, as I do often, you can say something like; “I don’t care about all that other stuff. I’m going to do “just this” right now. Everything else is going to wait. I’ve decided!” Then let go. And put a smile on your face because you’ve just taken command of your life! You’re in control.

I hope you feel really good when you let go. You just decide that you want to focus on one thing at the moment and everything else can wait. It’s funny how it does. And the beautiful thing that happens is that much of that “stuff” disappears on it’s own. Or, it changes and what you thought you needed to do so urgently would have been a waste of time.

What if you decided that “just this” was something you were going to do just for yourself? Like a bubble bath. Or, a jog with a friend. Arrange it. Be creative.

Until soon, I wish you love and creativity!

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