Motivation for the Caregiver….Quote #13

“Be the reason someone smiles. Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness in people.”

Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

Overly Caring Caregivers

You’ve read the title correctly, caregivers caring TOO much. Does this act exist? Is it realistic to believe people can be overly caring? Caregiving creates a hectic lifestyle littered with spontaneous panic episodes accompanied by feelings of gratitude and usefulness. Caregivers accept FULL responsibility for the well-being of another and become fixated on this task. Care provided by a third-party is subpar and lacks vigor, mindfulness, and competency.

Our empathetic nature is both a blessing and curse. Minds and bodies are exhausted creating safe, secure environments. We refuse the help of others by deeming them incapable. It’s this controlling nature causing adrenal exhaustion, depression, and stressful living environments. Why do we foster this unhealthy atmosphere? Why do we allow the care-recipient become a dependent? Why is our way the ONLY right way?

Empathetic personalities feel emotions of living things on a personal level. Their feelings become our feelings. The burnout phase occurs when caregivers are unable to separate their needs from the care-recipient’s needs. Denying ourselves deserved help creates inescapable stressful environments. Our bodies are constantly in the “fight or flight” stage and unable to manage stress. We suffer from adrenal fatigue similar to an athlete training for the Olympics. However, a caregiver’s stress doesn’t end after the event is won. It continues for days, months, or years.

Caring is not unhealthy, but the degree to which you care can wreak havoc on your body. Caregivers must realize…

  1. they’re entitled to a break even though the care-recipient is their primary responsibility.
  2. their care methods, while effective, are not the only solutions.
  3. relatives and friends are competent and can provide short-term care for loved-ones.
  4. creating a co-dependent isn’t healthy for the care-recipient.

Making decisions based solely on emotion results in fatigue, burnout, and an unsatisfactory care environment. Make decisions with your mind using logic and factual information. Realizing needs enables caregivers to effectively care for loved-ones without destroying their own health. Being empathetic is a great gift, but an overly caring caregiver will make the journey more stressful and less fulfilling. Step back and observe the situation. Listen to others and open your mind to new ideas. Caregiving isn’t a life sentence. It’s a life obstacle testing your mind, body, and soul. Embrace your experience. Good luck!

Caregivers Do This, Not That

Emphasizing and satisfying the needs of care-recipients and caregivers will achieve a balanced lifestyle. Caregiving is a challenging but rewarding experience requiring dedication, devotion, and support. Empathetic caregivers provide nurturing and secure care environments for care-recipients. Support systems recognizing caregivers’ needs foster safe, quality care.

Caregiving is dependent upon,

1.) meeting the demands and honoring the dignity of the care-recipient.

2.) respecting the needs and integrity of the caregiver.

When these demands and needs are recognized, caregiving becomes less daunting and more fulfilling. The following list of DO’S AND DON’TS will bring balance and success to your caregiving journey.

  • Encourage the patient to be independent and helpful. Avoid treating the care-recipient like an incompetent child unable to accomplish simple tasks.
  • Ask the patient’s opinion on health care concerns. Avoid talking in front of the care-recipient as if inexistent and oblivious to the discussion.
  • Support the patient’s need for togetherness and family time. Avoid isolation from family and friends. Allow time for socializing.
  • Do activities promoting cognitive thinking and fine motor skills. Avoid reliance on TV and technology for mental stimulation.
  • Empathize with the patient’s emotions. Avoid being cold and aloof. Show understanding toward feelings of helplessness and depression.
  • Discuss with the patient your need for alone time. Avoid allowing the care-recipient to become clingy and completely dependent.
  • Involve family and friends in the caregiving process. Don’t become overwhelmed by care responsibilities.
  • Show concern for your emotional and physical stress. Avoid adrenal fatigue and burnout.
  • Discuss with family and friends your need for respite care. Don’t assume you can provide effective care without breaks from your hectic daily schedule.
  • Treasure the caregiving experience. It brings new perspective to caring and relationships. Don’t view caregiving as a never-ending burden.

Acknowledging care-recipients’ needs and caregivers’ wants will create life balance. Balance creates harmony during the caregiving experience. Listen to the patient and voice your concerns. Awareness of all feelings and needs in a relationship allows for a smoother, more fulfilling journey. Thank you for reading and good luck!

Self-Care Tips for Caregivers

Caregiving is a time-consuming responsibility that’s physically and emotionally draining. Sleep is a luxury enjoyed sparingly. Life is consumed by the care-recipient and self-care is seemingly non-existent. Observers emphasize the importance of self-care, but never volunteer time for its completion. Many caregivers are restricted to the confines of home and don’t have infinite self-care options. Few are allowed the time for walking or jogging nature trails. There are no gym visits or facials and massages. Every minute of the day revolves around the care-recipient’s needs.

How can time for self-care be integrated into your hectic schedule? Take advantage of available time during the day. Correctly utilizing brief moments allows for proper self-care management. Relieve stress and boost your confidence by practicing these beneficial self-care tips.

  1. Compliment yourself each morning. Compose a list of your best qualities. Read this list when in doubt of your self-worth.
  2. Perform an emotions self-check. Sit calmly for a designated amount of time and ponder exactly what you’re feeling. Document those feelings.
  3. Limit the negativity transpiring in your life. Eliminate people and social media serving no positive purpose in your current lifestyle.
  4. Look through a window and appreciate the surrounding natural environment.
  5. Let loose! Turn on your favorite tunes and get lost in the music. Learn to laugh and enjoy being you.
  6. Complete controlled breathing or moderate stretching exercises.
  7. Create an in-home exercise routine suitable for your time schedule and fitness level.
  8. Re-evaluate your diet and include healthier versions of the foods you love.
  9. Realize and document your thoughts and concerns. Suggest an open discussion with family and friends to voice your objections.
  10. Splurge and treat yourself to a favorite food, new wardrobe piece, or 10 minutes of alone time.
  11. Change your monotonous daily schedule by integrating one new activity.
  12. Find a secluded location within your home and sit in silence for a short moment. Block out surrounding sounds and concentrate on breathing.
  13. Walk outside or sit near a window and absorb a little sunshine.
  14. Indulge in a 10 minute power nap and return to caregiving refreshed.
  15. Circulate aromas throughout your home stimulating mood and senses.
  16. When given the opportunity, ask for and accept help.

Self-care is a lifestyle change involving consistent care of the mind, body, and soul. Bodily systems work in unison to create a physical, mental, and emotional balance. Integrating the mentioned tips into your daily schedule will alleviate everyday stress and improve self-confidence. Open your mind and allow yourself deserved care.

What self-care activities do you practice daily?

Respond by leaving a comment! Thank you for reading and take care! Please share!

Caregiving Shaped My Soul

As a young caregiver, I often dwelled on caregiving’s negative aspects. No wild college parties, spring break vacations, or date nights. My young adult life revolved around caring for my grandmother. We were restricted to the confines of home. Family visited for holidays and special occasions. Observers volunteered unhelpful advice and insisted I should be grateful for my open availability. I cherished moments with my grandmother, but 24/7 seemed excessive. She and I were independent women from different generations. Each needed alone time to gather thoughts and reflect on current life struggles. Alone but together was my 19 year old caregiver mentality.

Our caregiving journey progressed; I matured and found new appreciation for my grandmother. She epitomized strong-will and independence. Strokes and congestive heart failure were debilitating, but never destroyed her youthful spirit. My admiration grew as I watched her battle and overcome painful illnesses. She was my hero, an inspiration who proved a strong will to live could conquer seemingly fatal obstacles. Her love for living was contagious and I’m glad I caught the bug. Independence was taught through encouragement. Self-doubt turned into confidence. She surfaced my forgotten inner-strengths.

Maturity brought faith related questions. Why do good people suffer? Why is life so unfair to kind and gentle individuals?  I’m still searching for the answers. Caregiving revealed lost emotions and gave my life purpose. I easily empathized with all living things and shared concern for the welfare of others. There’s always some good in bad situations. Was I satisfied with my grandmother suffering from illness? No. However, this obstacle and life’s spontaneity determined my morality and mentality. Caregiving created an independent, mature adult devoted to the happiness and well-being of others. Responsibilities were no longer burdens and life was beautiful.

Caring for an ailing loved-one is stressful and mentally draining. Remember and reflect on the positive experiences. Realize your growth by documenting personal and emotional changes. Caregiving granted me new perspectives. Light exists at the end of seemingly endless tunnels. I’m patient, understanding, and sympathetic to the needs of others. My appreciation for humanity is ever growing. The elderly are no longer lonely, crotchety people loathing the sight of youth. They’re fascinating, charismatic, wise human beings surviving life. Aging is not a burden, but a blessing. The wisdom and love learned through aging is life’s greatest experience. I’ve newfound respect for the Greatest Generation. They provided us the world in which we live and freedom to love ourselves and others equally. My grandmother showed strength thought nonexistent. She’s my inspiration. Our 11 year journey established my character and integrity. Caregiving shaped my soul. Thank you for reading!

Why do I blog?

I consider my life to be quite dull.  I’m neither a professional writer nor a successful entrepreneur.  My crafting and culinary arts skills are average.  I appreciate philosophy, but am far from being a philosopher.  I enjoy a juicy celebrity scandal, but am not an entertainment or gaming junkie.  I’m an average Jane living in rural New Jersey with my husband and two dogs.  So, what can I contribute to the blogging world?  With so many talented people posting informative articles each day, why do I blog?

1.)  Help Others

Why should you find out the hard-way, when I’ve already made the mistakes?  The initial focus of my blog was to simplify my passion….Chemistry.  My educational career was littered with numerous Chemistry courses.  I’ve used my blog as a platform to help students understand this complex subject by stressing its life importance and simplifying study techniques.  This knowledge was discovered through trial and error.  I’ve done the hard part so you can reap the reward!

The same thought process was applied when explaining the difficulties of caregiving.  I’ve already experienced caregiver stress and its health effects.  My posts focus on stress prevention and successful caregiving strategies.  I’ve been given the opportunity to prepare you for upcoming struggles.  Learn from my mistakes!

2.)  Provide Security

Average people still exist in society.  We have modest homes and incomes.  All of us aren’t professionals and struggle with subject comprehension.  Aging loved-ones losing their independence is a common struggle faced by many families.  Stay-at-home caregivers do exist and families can survive on a single income.  I want you to realize we have similar real-life struggles! 

 3.)  Clear the Mind

Blogging every week enables me to clear my mind and focus on the here-and-now, not the what-if’s.  Although my experiences are not monumental, they have served a distinct purpose and helped shape my character.  Writing allows me to physically see the logic in past decision-making.  That logic steers my future direction.  I look back in order to move forward!

Hopefully my amateur blog gives insight into some of our shared life experiences.  I’m not writing to impress, but to voice average people’s struggles.  From college to caregiving….life is hard!  Let my learned knowledge make your life a little easier.  Thank you for looking in!  Take care.  

Why EVERYONE should take at least one Chemistry course!

Yes, I know Chemistry can be an intimidating subject.  And, why would anyone take a Chemistry course unless it was required to graduate high school or a prerequisite to a given major?  The skills acquired through a Chemistry course are not just mathematical.  Chemistry introduces you to many life skills that will make you a more efficient and intellectual individual.  I know this sounds far-fetched, but continue reading!

1.)  Critical Thinking

Chemistry can and will make you think on your toes!  Anyone who has participated in a Chemistry lab knows experiments require a lot of spontaneous critical thinking.  A flask gets knocked over and your product goes down the sink drain or the product you produced somehow evaporated overnight.  Yes, it happens!  A chaotic laboratory experience enables you to think outside of the box and find an alternative method for arriving at a desired solution.  Apply these same critical thinking skills to an eventful or chaotic lifestyle and suddenly, life just became a little easier.

2.)  Time Management

With all of the content contained within a single Chemistry course, how can you possibly absorb all of the information and be ready for an exam all within 3-4 weeks?  As your class progresses, you will learn to successfully prioritize your workload and take advantage of each and every waking moment.  Time management is an extremely useful skill that can be applied to a wide variety of lifestyles and careers.  After just one Chemistry course, you will find that any given day will be planned down to the minute!  Who doesn’t want that kind of organization?

3.)  Chemists or Scientific Chefs?

If you can do Chemistry, you can cook….if you can cook, you can do Chemistry!  Truer words were never spoken!  Anyone who has ever taken a Chemistry lab course can recognize that an experimental procedure is nothing more than a chemical recipe.  Chemistry will grow your recipe reading and measuring skills.  I always refer to my mother as a domestic chemist!

4.)  Patience

The faced-paced world of today has forgotten the unsung life skill of patience.  Sometimes a final product cannot be seen or produced in a matter of minutes, hours, or days.  By taking CHEM 101, you will have the opportunity to spend HOURS….watching for the formation of a precipitate.  Yes, you will definitely develop patience!

Even if Chemistry isn’t a requirement for graduating high school or pursing your college major, challenge yourself and give it a try.  By reading my other posts, you’re well aware of how to successfully pass the course.  So, go ahead and sign up for a CHEM class and learn the mentioned life skills embedded in the course.  It will make you a more well-rounded person.  Not to mention, your math skills will be on point!

As always, thank you for sticking around and reading the entire post.  Hopefully, I’ve persuaded you to enroll in a CHEM course.  Let me know the life skills you’ve learned from Chemistry by leaving a comment!  GOOD LUCK!