These past weeks have been full of some serious and sad news for my family and friends. As one ages, we become more and more aware of how precious life is. There are no guarantees how much time we have with loved ones.
But in the reality of aging we must be aware of another important topic that effects couples, children, and loved ones. It is the topic of CARE for the CAREGIVER.
Love is an amazing and wonderful thing but sometimes it can blind us. What do I mean?
Have you ever had a friend who is a born caretaker? Meaning they get “great job” from helping others. They thrive on it and will go ABOVE and BEYOND to help their family, friends and almost anyone. The problem is in doing so sometimes they become off balance and GIVE and GIVE and GIVE all that they have emotionally, physically, and even sometimes financially. After years of this process they start to realize that they have hurt their own health and happiness.
When we are a Caregiver of a loved one and when they are dealing with a significant health crisis the same can happen. We do and do and do and forget to take care of ourselves.
I once had a patient who had Type II Diabetes. Although she was a good eater and mostly healthy, I dug deeper into her story. For more than 5 years she was the sole caretaker of her elderly parents who were very ill. It was extremely demanding to her emotionally and physically. After they passed she was not only emotionally grieving but she was physically ailing. Shortly after they passed she was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes. Coincidence I think not.
When our loved ones are hurting, we hurt. In our hurt we will turn to things that help dull that pain. We will stuff ourselves with food, have our nightly wine or drinks, smoke marijuana, do retail therapy or other unhealthy choices that help dull our pain and exhaustion. In doing so we deteriorate our health which ends up leaving less of us to help others.
So what is my point in sharing this information? First we must make it a priority to take CARE of ourselves. Whether we are ailing for loved ones or just a parent with kids to care for.
Here are some good places to start:
1. Exercise and Movement:
I would almost guarantee that every person reading this has access to move their bodies for 15 minutes or more a day if they would make time for it. I would also guarantee there are opportunities to get outdoors and walk, get to the gym down the street, meet a friend for some fitness fun, or simply uncover that treadmill sitting in your bedroom.
If you set yourself a simple goal of 15 minutes a day of continuous movement I bet you could achieve it. Some of my Hurting Harriets friends really need to consider some Aqua Therapy to alleviate pressure off of joints and sitting classes that most YMCA’s offer.
“But I can’t afford the membership fees”. I want to stop hearing that excuse. I guarantee if I looked at your budget I could find monies spent on clothes, gifts, and other non-essentials. If your budget really doesn’t allow for that then look into the YMCA or local gym memberships. And I may need to talk to you about good debt and bad debt. Debt isn’t something I think is good unless it is an investment in something that will cause you to physically or mentally improve so that you can do better and perform better.
2. Planned Healthy Meals and Snacks:
This is a huge topic for most caretakers or those living with just one other person in the family. Many times we rely on frozen meals, eating out, or skipping meals. Not a good plan for the caretaker. Every week, stock up on healthy snacks that will support your energy and focus. Put snacks in the car, your purse, and places where you may need them on the run. Stay away from a bunch of carb snacks and focus more on protein, veggies, fruits, and maybe a health grain snack.
Ask a favorite great aunt or someone who wants to help the family to make a big healthy dinner with a big salad once or twice a week. This is a trick we have used just in our busy lives and it works awesome.
3. Emotional Support:
We all need support and someone to talk about what we are going through. Sometimes group settings can be a positive thing but sometimes they can really drag us down. Find uplifting and positive groups or friends that you can share an hour or two a week (maybe on a walk) and vent your feelings. Getting help from a counselor is excellent too.
And of course using your Young Living essential oils to help uplift your moods, stay focused, get a great night’s rest and stay calm is always recommended. My favorites are Peace and Calming on my feet before bed. Stress Away as my perfume or cologne throughout the day, and Idaho Balsam Fir or Lavender 10 drops in a 1/4 cup of Epsom salts and 2 tsps. non-aluminum baking soda for a relaxing bath.
So I want you to make me a promise. Promise me you will look at the above list and pick one thing you will work on these upcoming weeks. We need you healthy and happy. No one knows what tomorrow will bring.
Disclaimer: This information is not meant to diagnose, prescribe, treat or cure any illness or disease. It’s strictly for informational, educational, or entertainment purposes ONLY. The products I talk about are not meant to diagnose, prescribe, treat or cure any illness or disease. Any information I give you about them is for informational or entertainment purposes only. They have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA. Please seek the qualified health professional of your choice when making health decisions for yourself, your family and your pets.