Category Archives: 2019 A to Z Challenge

Sleep Hygiene

Have you ever heard the term, “sleep hygiene?” Just as oral hygiene is the way you care for your mouth and teeth, sleep hygiene is the collection of practices and habits dealing with your sleeping life. They are extremely important, since approximately one-third of your life is spent, asleep. Some people sleep a bit more, and others, less. The key is to feel rested when you wake up. If you don’t, it’s likely that you have poor sleep hygiene. Many wearable activity trackers, such as certain models of the Fitbit, are able to track your sleep and give you a good idea of how much you sleep and what the quality of that sleep is. Temperature. Like Goldilocks, you don’t want to too hot or Read more…

Respite Care

Caregiving is too big for one person to do alone. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what most caregivers try to do, at first. This is especially a problem when you are caring for a spouse with cancer or other chronic illness. In the past, it might have always been the two of you working as a team. You probably think that’s how this is going to work, as well. But, cancer is just too big for one caregiver to handle alone. Respite care can be the perfect weapon your battle with burnout. It really can feel lonely The patient may come home from treatment and go to bed for 8 hours. During that time, you are left to take care of the things you normally do as Read more…

Quit a bad habit

While most people know that smoking, excessive drinking, and illicit drug pose a definite health risk, they are often unaware of the effect that a bad habit can have on their mental well-being. Kick the smoking habit in the ash Each of these activities begins as a way of altering your physical response to stress. For example, in the beginning, nicotine actually reduces stress, feelings of anger, muscle tension, and appetite. The effect is only temporary, though. The more you smoke, the more the nicotine changes your brain. Eventually (often quickly), smoking becomes a habit. As the nicotine in your system is depleted, you experience withdrawal symptoms, reinforcing the habit. These withdrawal symptoms will leave a smoker feeling anxious and stressed. Think before you drink Read more…

Having Pets

I grew up always having pets: Cats, dogs, horses, iguanas and other lizards, even a tarantula that survived over 12 years. My kids, on the other hand, haven’t had the luxury of living in a menagerie of cuddly critters. My two youngest are extremely allergic to nearly anything with fur.  Too much time with the wrong animal and they can wind up in the hospital—it’s happened. Fortunately, we’ve found an animal that no one is allergic to and we all love—gerbils! I was opposed to getting them in the beginning. Now, I’m their #1 fan. There’s good science to back up the benefits of having pets around. Having Pets can help the Elderly We have a neighbor who recently turned 92. She still walks her Read more…

One Thing a Day

Perhaps the number one way I have learned to avoid burnout is by limiting my goals to one thing a day. Of course, I do more than one thing a day, but nothing overwhelming. The Spoon Theory Most people have heard of the Spoon Theory, Christine Miserandino wrote about in her 2003 essay. While it doesn’t fit everyone’s specific situation, it is a great way to visualize what it’s like to live with a chronic health condition. I first learned of this theory when I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and then, fibromyalgia. Then, my husband was diagnosed with cancer. It was difficult for him to learn how to cope with his declining energy and health. At the end of each day, he would say Read more…

saying No

One of the most important things you can do to prevent burnout is to say, “No.” Yet, it isn’t always easy. Let’s look at why saying no can be tough, at times. We aren’t used to saying no Most people don’t ease into a cancer diagnosis as you do with exercise. Instead, life is just as normal as can be. You have your routine. Everyone in the family participates in various activities throughout the week and suddenly the rhythm of your life is brought to a screeching halt. On October 24th, 2012, my husband went into the doctor. After feeling the enlarged lymph nodes along Dan’s collar bone, the doctor asked if we had a few hours for him to run some tests. We cleared Read more…

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is one of the latest buzzwords, but it is an important concept. Andy Puddicombe gave a wonderful TED Talk about mindfulness in 2012. It’s called All it takes is 10 Mindful Minutes. In it, he dispels some common mindfulness myths. For example, mindful meditation is not emptying the mind. Instead, you are looking for balance, relaxed focus. How can we use mindfulness to listen to what’s happening within our own minds and bodies, so that we can be aware of any problems that are arising? Let me give you an example of the benefit of these 10 minutes. I have a toothache I’ve had a toothache for a while now. I have a long history of dental problems rooted in TMJ. I grind my Read more…

listening to others

As a caregiver, it’s easy to get caught up in your own problems and miss seeing someone else’s. That’s a trap you don’t want to fall into. It’s just an invitation to your own personal pity party.  Sure, you need to talk to people about what’s happening, but there comes a time when you’ve talked too much. Then it’s time to listen. One of the easiest ways to encourage a friend is by listening. Ask them how they are doing. How is their family? It’s likely that they have something difficult happening in their life, as well, and could use a listening ear. Often people hesitate to share their troubles It’s common for people to feel uncomfortable sharing the difficult things they are going through. Read more…

Seeing A therapist

This is also one of those posts that I need to read as much as anyone. Like most caregivers, I have a busy schedule. So, often self-care gets pushed to the sidelines. That includes seeing a therapist. Yet, seeing a therapist can be the key to self-care. A therapist is a great accountability partner. They can challenge you from an unbiased point-of-view. How seeing a Therapist increases accountability I discovered this benefit on accident. One day, I was telling my therapist about how much I missed going to church. It was my own fault. Dan was sick and I was just being lazy. It was easier to stay home than to leave him to go and worship God. Then, at the end of our session, Read more…

Journal

As a writer, keeping a journal has always come naturally to me. I first wrote in a journal, after reading The Diary of a Young Girl by Ann Frank. I was touched by how she had one place to turn to when she needed to express her deepest held feelings, longings, and fears.  She was living in a small space with a lot of people and yet, the safest place for her thoughts was in the pages of her diary. Different ways to journal Since then, I’ve always had a journal of some sort. Although, the way I use them has varied. As a young girl, like Ann Frank, I chose to write down my dreams. Which boy did I have a crush on? How Read more…

Dear A to Z Challenge Bloggers,

A week ago, my husband was put on in-home hospice. While I had my posts written and scheduled to post, in advance, I have fallen behind on returning comments. When I am able, I will certainly so so. I value your comments and your blogs. Thank you for understanding if I am delayed. The hardest thing I have ever done is helping my husband prepare to die.

A to Z Challenge Survivor

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