Eldercare/Caregiving Stress--Managing Holidays
Caring for a chronically ill loved one can be one of life's greatest challenges, but during holidays, when even more responsibilities are added to an already stressful schedule, caregivers can often feel guilty and frustrated for not being able to accomplish all the tasks they once did. Additionally, fond memories of past holidays, when a loved one was still healthy, can create a downward spiral with feelings of loss and sadness.
More than fifty million people, one in every five Americans, help loved ones who can no longer help themselves. But when caring for another, a caregiver often neglects their own well-being, oftentimes not even seeing themself as a caregiver, but simply as a loving family member.
STEPS CAREGIVERS CAN TAKE TO REDUCE STRESS AND ENJOY HOLIDAYS
* Take Care of You: You can't be an effective caregiver if you are so stressed that you get sick too. As hard as it is to find the time and motivation, realize that it's imperative that you nurture yourself.
-Eat healthy: set limits on high fat and processed foods, caffeine and too many sugar-laden treats that can increase fatigue.
-Exercise often: take a walk, stretch, lift weights, do isometrics.
-Get proper sleep: take naps when necessary.
-Meditate: practice deep breathing and visualize happy times.
-Attend a support group regularly: solutions will present themselves.
-Get respite care for your loved one: the break will help you.
-Do things you enjoy: read, music, hobbies, crafts, movies, etc.
-Use a hand sanitizer: viral and bacterial infections can be reduced.
-Treat depression: find a therapist, ask your doctor to consider prescribing an anti-depressant.
-Get yearly physicals and appropriate tests: cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, mammogram, prostate, colonoscopy, etc.
* Organize & Pace Yourself: Be careful not to take on more than you can manage. Make lists of things that must be done, and secondary lists of things you would like to accomplish if possible. Be sure to set strict limits with yourself and others of what you can and cannot do.
* Ask For Help: Don't wait for friends and family to ask what they can do to help. Instead, make a list and ask everyone to pick the tasks they feel comfortable with. In addition to the long list of caregiving chores, add: cleaning the house/garage/pantry, taking the car in for service/tire rotation, gardening, shopping, and include holiday tasks such as:
-Writing a holiday letter
-Cooking meals for the freezer
-Organizing social events
-Taking down decorations
-Sending thank-you notes
* Accept Invitations: Even if you don't feel like going out at the moment, having activities to look forward to will help you feel less isolated and deprived of a normal life. If your loved one cannot attend with you, arrange for their care with family, friends, or through an agency. Be aware that having fun, laughing, and focusing on subjects other than caregiving and ill health, will help to keep you in emotional balance.
* Use Adult Day Care: Enrolling elderly loved ones in Adult Day Care is often the very best thing for them, as well as for you. They'll be busy enjoying activities like singing, crafts, cooking, gardening, bingo, etc., with professionals who know how to motivate and manage them. They'll come home tired and probably sleep through the night. When you get several hours respite during the day and sleep better at night--your caregiving batteries will recharge.
* Seek Professional Help: Numerous resources are available to help caregivers. Consider hiring a Geriatric Care Manager, who can personally guide you through the complicated maze of eldercare. Also, many faith-based organizations offer support to family caregivers.
-Area Agency on Aging or Department of Aging
-Family Caregiver Support Program (800) 422-3263
-Eldercare Locator (800) 677-1116
-Alzheimer's Association (800) 272-3900
-National Family Caregivers Association (800) 896-3650
-National Adult Day Services Association (212) 494-0755
* Shift Perspective: Resolve to stay in the present, savor the good moments, and guard against focusing on the decline of your loved one. Imagine yourself in their position, needing a caregiver to do things for you all of the time. Now ask yourself what you'd want for your loved ones who'd be taking care of you? Would you want them to be continually sad, depressed, burdened, isolated, and not living up to their potential or following their dreams--because of you? Of course not.
Realize that your happiness is what your loved one wants most for you (even if it doesn't seem like it), and that you do them honor by living a balanced and fulfilled life, which includes enjoying holidays.
Jacqueline Marcell is a national speaker on eldercare and the author of, "Elder Rage", a Book-of-the-Month Club selection being considered for a feature film. Over fifty endorsements include: Hugh Downs, Regis Philbin and Dr. Dean Edell. Jacqueline also hosts a radio program heard worldwide on: http://www.wsradio.com/copingwithcaregiving . For more information: http://www.ElderRage.com
Permission is granted to publish all/part of this article free of charge as long as: the author's byline is included, the links are live, and the author is notified: J.Marcell@cox.net or 949-975-1012.
Hypnosis CDs - Relief from Stress
The number one most popular issue that users of a self hypnosis cd or clients of a hypnotherapist seek help with is stress. Even if their presenting issue appears different, such as a phobia or lack of confidence, somewhere in the mix will be a stress issue. So helping anyone to reduce their stress can be a great and effective way of reducing the symptoms and often the cause of any issue.
How to Cope When Things Go Wrong
There are times in every person's life when things do not go according to the way we would like. All of us have our ups and downs. These can consist of periods of poor health, emotional problems, financial struggles, relationship challenges, accidents and the like.
Calming The Voice of Stress
But how can this happen to someone?
Mindfulness and Laughter: Gaining Clarity While Giggling
Life is funny.
From Problems to Possibilities-Get Out of Your Old Story to Get On With the New!
I love a good story and I know I'm not alone. The evil villain, the adventurer or the sheer power of words captivate us and leave us wanting more. We join bookclubs to share our thoughts on the stories we've read. Great stories aren't just in books and movies. We're writing machines! Many of us self-publish our stories daily. If only we got paid for these stories. We do get compensated and it comes in the form of negative stress and overwhelm in our lives.
10 Ways to Benchmark Workplace Stress
With almost 50% of workers complaining that their jobs are very stressful, it is no surprise that more than two-thirds of all medical problems are stress related.
Stress & Performance: How Much is Just Right?
WHAT THE RESEARCH SAYS
Stress Causing People to ?Super Size?
Stress Causing People to "Super Size"by Georgianna Donadio D.C., M.Sc., Ph.D. It is currently reported that two out of three adults is either overweight or obese, and the numbers continue to climb. As a result, statistics demonstrate that a significant portion of our population is being diagnosed with chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. Even more shocking is that we are experiencing these conditions at earlier ages than previously reported. It is not unusual today, to hear about a young person in their 20's diagnosed with mature onset diabetes, normally developed during middle-age. On May 7, 2004, a controversial and award-winning movie aimed at exploring the obesity epidemic hit theatres. In "Super Size Me", a tongue-in-cheek look at the legal, financial and physical costs of our hunger for fast food, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock explores the horrors of school lunch programs, declining health education and physical education classes, food addictions and the extreme measures people take to lose weight. As a centerpiece of the film, Spurlock puts his own body on the line, living on nothing but McDonald's for 30 days following three rules:1) Eat only what is available over the counter2) No supersizing unless offered3) Consume every item on the menu at least onceIn the end, Spurlock has a weight gain of 24 pounds and experiences harrowing visits to the doctor. The issues that are explored in "Super Size Me" beg the question, what has changed in our environment to cause this obesity problem to reach epidemic proportions? Furthermore, what is causing people to overeat as we do? A groundbreaking study, reported in 2003 by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, found that between 1977 and 1996, portion sizes for key food groups grew markedly in the United States, not only at fast-food restaurants but also in homes and at conventional restaurants. In particular, portion sizes for salty and sugary foods, essentially, "comfort foods" experienced the most dramatic portion size increases. For example, the USDA's recommended serving size for a cookie is half an ounce, while the average cookie sold in restaurants was found to be 700% larger. The by-products of our affluent American society, envied by many around the world, have a definite dark side, our obesity rate, for starters. In a culture where more is better and disposable income is abundant, when it comes to eating we have developed a "more food, more conveniently and more often" attitude. Stress: A Pre-Cursor to Obesity Certainly, no one forces us to eat more than our body needs, so what is driving this "hunger" for more? Over the last two decades, almost proportionally to the dramatic increase of food consumed and chronic disease diagnoses, the amount of stress in our society and on each of us individually has increased significantly. Stress is the term medical researcher Hans Selye, M.D., PhD, gave to the experience our bodies go through when we have to adjust or adapt to the various changes our bodies experience during the course of the day. While many of us think of stress in relationship to emotional states, many other factors can exert an equally detrimental effect on our bodies as well. When we do not get enough sleep or rest, work or exercise too much, nutritional status, have an infection, have allergies, injuries or trauma, undergo dental or surgical procedures, have emotional upsets, or deal with any aspect of reproductive function such a pregnancy, menopause, etc., our bodies must chemically and neurologically adapt in order to survive. Part of this adaptation process relies heavily on the nutrition that is available for the kidney's adrenal glands to produce the adaptive hormones. It is often this aspect of stress that can lead to overeating, and what's more, overeating the types of foods that cause unhealthy weight gain. How it works Thanks to the work of M.I.T. Professor Judith Wurtman, Ph.D. and others we now understand the significant role that a neurotransmitter or "chemical messenger" called Serotonin plays in producing our cravings for complex carbohydrates and sugars, two of the largest contributors to unhealthy weight gain. Serotonin along with other neurotransmitters, are produced by our bodies as "feel good" hormones. Under stress, we do not have enough of these hormones and we become motivated to "self-sooth" by behaviors that lead to the increase of Serotonin. Overeating of carbohydrate and fatty-rich foods or "comfort foods" such as cookies, ice cream, etc. significantly increases these hormones. Many addictions such as smoking, alcohol, and drugs are also attempts to self-sooth and increase Serotonin, but no other addictive or unhealthy behavior is as socially acceptable and as easily available as over eating. We can do it anywhere, anytime, alone or with company. It is no wonder we have such a love affair with eating. In addition, our bodies need for certain nutrients, specifically protein, Vitamins A, C, and E, unsaturated fatty acids, cholesterol, and minerals, skyrocket when we are "adapting" under stress. Often, if we do not stop the stress cycle or do not appropriately supplement these nutrients, we can turn to overeating to satisfy the body's demands for the fuel it needs to keep dealing with the stress we are experiencing. For a period of time, foods that comfort, sooth or supplement can make us feel calmer until our level of Serotonin drops again or until we become more exhausted and need to feed ourselves, yet again. Then, we start the cycle all over and consume more carbohydrate and fatty rich foods until we feel better. This is the cycle of self-medication or self-soothing practiced in homes, offices, restaurants, automobiles and yes, even bathrooms across America. The long-term effect of such behaviors, apart from obesity and escalating chronic diseases, is that our nervous systems are being hyper-stimulated. Anxiety, exhaustion, depression, overeating and insomnia are just a few of the symptoms we experience when our nervous systems are working on overload. As a result, it is no wonder that within the last year, low-carbohydrate diets have proven effective for so many people. Approximately 20% of Americans or 20 million people are currently on a low-carb diet. For many of us, our stress level is a major factor in the over consumption of carbohydrates, therefore reducing or eating normal amounts of carbohydrates is spawning weight loss. The real issue, however, is how long can we reduce are carbohydrate loading without reducing our stress levels and the behaviors that create elevated stress in the first place? Causes of Stress Prior to the early 1970's, the majority of family units were structured as a one wage earner household where the male worked and the female stayed at home, taking care of the house and family. Driven largely by social and socio-economic factors, all of that has changed. Now, the overwhelming majority of families include both parents working and we find ourselves on a treadmill of more work, more responsibilities, more demands and non-stop scheduling that has many of us in a state of physical and, at times, emotional exhaustion. Added to the mix is our competitive culture, which often leads to isolation or a "them against us" thinking. Isolation of this nature causes additional "hidden" stress. A Hindu Vendata truth is that "the whole world is one family". It is said that there is only one disease, the disease of separateness; separating oneself from the awareness that as members of the human family, we are one living organism. The drama created by a "one-up" or "one-down" dynamic, that we find in competitive societies, can lead to the exhaustion and the psychosocial behavioral issues which can contribute to overeating. Understanding Exhaustion and its' Effect on Obesity The tipping point at which our bodies can no longer compensate or adapt from the stress it is under, is based in large part on the threshold of nutritional competency and the state of integrity of our nervous system. When our central nervous system, which governs every cell in our body and makes life possible, is not working efficiently, we have a decrease in bodily function and the ability to adapt to the world we live in. Chronic Fatigue Syndromes, CFS, are rampant in our culture today and growing at an alarming rate because of the over stimulation and increased demands placed on our nervous systems. Add to this inadequate nutrition and a decreased ability of our bodies to digest and absorb properly because of the stress, and we see the foundation of the epidemic of chronic diseases being currently reported. What is so shocking for us, as Americans, is that while we live in one of the most affluent societies ever to exist on earth and have one of the most technologically advanced medical systems we are raked at approximately twenty-sixth in the world health Olympics. This is not the failure of our medical system, but in fact, the failure to live in our bodies mindfully and respectfully, taking time for rest, proper nutrition, reflection, intimacy with self and others and serving the common good of society. It is this imbalance that leads us to chronic stress, which leads to physical and, if you will, spiritual exhaustion that is producing the levels of chronic diseases and the rampant obesity we see today. Self-Esteem and Health We have an innate understanding of how we need to choose to live to be healthy.Yet, adages about health i.e., "early to be, early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise", are often ignored in place of our instant gratification or immediate comfort.Physical labor has taken a back seat to "mind work", and today we work harder than ever before to have the money to buy a membership to a gym or spa so we can do the physical exercise we need to be healthy and attractive. However, rarely do we actually have the time to go to the gym we pay membership fees to. Statistically, the average gym membership is used for the first 4 ? 6 weeks after signing up and then falls off dramatically. Workout facilities count on this phenomenon when planning their recruitment and enrollment numbers. Likewise, diet plans and weight loss centers know that 90% or more of their customers will continue to have body weight issues, in spite of their best efforts to re-direct to a different way of eating. Why? The Oprah Syndrome One of the most powerful, successful people in the world, Oprah Winfrey is a brilliant example of the "super size" syndrome in our culture. With every possible service, care and expert available to her, Oprah has continued to struggle with significant weight gain and loss for many years. In 2001, a chart published in a popular magazine, documents her weight gain and loss over the previous 20 years. Even during the height of her popularity and professional success, her body weight rose to dangerously elevated levels. The reasons most of us give for not taking care of ourselves include; not having enough time to shop for or cook the right foods; not being sure what's best for our body type; not enough money for domestic help so we can exercise, meditate or relax; stress over money and achieving success. Oprah is an individual who has more than enough money and success to eliminate all those concerns, yet in spite of that she still does not consistently maintain a proper body weight. Driven by personal history and ambition, Oprah offers a perfect example of the potential outcome of Serotonin driven self-soothing, which invites us to ask and answer questions about self-esteem and self care. When we understand the relationship between our unconscious mind, our self-esteem and the serotonin connection, it becomes quite clear that what is at the core of our "super sizing" is not solved by the "diet of the month" or the next "how to" bestseller. Rather, an examination of our personal worldview, our ego state, our treatment and regard for nature and for others, what we value, what we believe in, how much we consume and how much we accumulate. When these aspects of self are aligned with choices that lead to moderation rather than ambition, that produce balance rather than extremes, that debunk the thinking that "more is better", we then select the foods we innately know are healthy, even when we must choose from the fast food menu. In a culture comprised of 5% of the world population, using 75% of the world's resources, we have come to accept excess as a way of life and a standard to subscribe to. In the 1980's, Robin Leach's television show, "Life Styles of the Rich and Famous", tainted our appetites for a standard of over consumption that has brought us to where we are today ? obese and chronically diseased. Take a Tip from the Gurus Eastern philosophies offer us an opportunity to re-think our approach to the way we live. Quite opposite from our "in your face" attitude of self-manifestation, Eastern wisdom invites us to ponder, "how much do I really need; to do; to have; to eat; to own; to control; to be content with my life; and what is the role of gratitude in my life?" Shouldn't having a calm, well functioning nervous system, the source of all life in the body, be a main objective for all of us instead of trying to trick the body into doing what we want with the latest diet craze or vitamin pills available? Change the Question It may be time to change the questions we not only ask ourselves, but the questions we are asked as consumers. Maybe, if when making his fast food purchases, Morgan Spurlock was asked the question "super size or down size, sir?" the choices he might have made could have resulted in significant weight loss rather than weight gain, but then Spurlock would not have a movie to make, or the millions that will be realized from it.
Balancing Acts: Keeping Work and Life in Equilibrium
In the fast-paced world that we live in today, it seems as though it's hard to find enough time to do everything that needs to be done. Days at work are long, but too often don't seem to be long enough? we bring home what we can't finish and end up creating highly stressful situations for those around us. Even worse, it seems like medical science is constantly finding new problems that are caused by overworking and the stress that results from it. If only there were some way to reduce the effects of this stress and make life more work-friendly (and vice versa)?
Stress Relief for Busy Business People - 11 Easy Ways
Make stress less of an issue for you in your work and life, by trying out one or more of these ideas - the list is not exhaustive! Seek out more and share!
Dont Let Technology Psych You Out!
We've all experienced it-computerized technology that doesn't function properly. PCs that crash on Monday morning, copiers that melt transparencies, printers that smear ink on Board reports, phones that crackle during crisis calls, Internet viruses that destroy everything but non-essential data, faxes that send documents to the wrong long distance number, and so forth. The list is nearly endless.
Where does stress really come from? Is there any simple way to reduce it or to stop it?
We so often take the feelings of happiness and saddness for granted. Why do we even have such feelings inside us at all? Well if you've ever asked yourself that question then perhaps you will find an answer here that resonates with you.
Squeeze To Relax!
This heading may seem like a contradiction in terms. How on earth is squeezing anything going to allow for relaxation to occur? Surely it will generate more tension, won't it?
Break Up Your Day And Become More Productive
Often, in today's fast paced world, we forget to take a break during our working day. We simply figure we will get much more done if we eat on the run, have less or no breaks, and work more hours.
Relieving Stress with Exercise... and Losing Body Fat in the Process!
Feeling stressed out lately? Don't worry, there is a simple and incredibly effective solution -- one that will help you lose weight in more ways than you might think!
7 Tips to Relieve Stress At Work
Do you feel stress at work? Do you carry your stress home with you at night?
Moving Through Breakdowns with Transformation
Success in recovery, or rather, staying in recovery, is dependent upon a variety of factors. For example, it appears that attending daily NA or AA meetings and staying in communication with ones chosen sponsor will definitely assist an individual in successfully implementing his recovery plan. Getting and staying committed to working the 12 Step Program also appears to increase the probability of the person staying abstinent from drugs and alcohol. While the above-mentioned elements of a persons overall recovery plan are crucial to his recovery, another major factor that will greatly influence an individual's continued abstinence is how he is able to handle the breakdowns that happen in life.
Stress. The word brings to mind many different definitions doesn't it? It is an individual thing in many ways ? although the Canadian Stress Institute's founder, Dr. Hans Selye was the first one to define the condition. He is known as the Father of Stress. Let's say you are walking through the park. All of a sudden, out of the bush at the side of the path, a black bear appears. Fear surges through every cell of your body. Your mind and body are stressed, and together they will prepare physiologically and psychologically for the "fight or flight" stress response. The heart pumps faster and blood surges through the blood vessels, lactic acid is released into the muscles, adrenalin and other chemicals are released, breathing becomes shallow, and the bowels loosen.
Assess Your Stress Using Haris Stress Inventory
This is a tool to measure the amount of stress you experience in your daily life. 66 statements are included. Read slowly and carefully, state how far it is true in your case. You may please choose any one of the following five options to each item.
|© Athifea Distribution LLC - 2013|