By heatherericksonauthor.comThe Erickson Family

Category Archives: Caregivers

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…

Ways you can help a caregiver

During the month of April, I participated in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Facing Cancer with Grace, I concentrated on writing posts for caregivers, There are many ways you can help a caregiver. Raising awareness of what day to day life is like as a caregiver is how I help. At Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, I wrote a retrospective post about what it was like writing 55 posts, posting them all in April, and then reading and commenting on the blogs of other participants. Check it out! In this post, I share some of the many ways you can help a caregiver. By choosing a couple of these suggestions you can help a caregiver greatly reduce their stress, and cope with their role 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…

Scanxiety

There’s a word that’s unique to the cancer experience. Scanxiety. Most people are familiar with anxiety. There are many types of anxiety, including (but not limited to): generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety, phobias, and PTSD (post-traumatic stress syndrome). Scanxiety is a form of situational anxiety or acute stress reaction disorder. Because of the nature of cancer, patients are already experiencing chronic stress, or the stress of demands that seem endless, with little hope in sight for long stretches of time. When you add an additional stressor to this, it can feel overwhelming, leading to physical symptoms of stress and anxiety for the patient, and his or her family members. The first time you experience scanxiety is when you suspect you have cancer and are in 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…

Visualization

Let’s do a visualization exercise: Imagine you are on a beach, relaxing in a chez lounge. The sun is shining in a bright blue sky, warming your body from top to toes. You adjust the umbrella to keep the glare off of the pages of the book you’ve been enjoying. Without a care in the world, you reach for the ice cold glass of lemonade that’s sitting next to you on a small table. The sweet, tart drink refreshes you from the inside out. You can hear the ocean crashing against the rocks in the distance. Closer, you hear the lapping of the water as it combs the sand clean with each wave. The seagulls seem to whistle to one another as they swoop and Read more…

Zero in on Self-Care

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Facing Cancer with Grace, I will focus on caregiving. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, where I will share ways to increase your creativity. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is Z for Zero in on Self-Care I’m not going to give you a laundry list of self-care ideas. There are enough of those on the web. I do want to talk about how address all of your needs using the ideas that you decide are for you. You are a whole being with many parts. The key to ideal self-care is to Read more…

Hug Someone you Love

I’m not a very physically affectionate person, but there are definitely times when a hug is the best medicine. There are plenty of reasons why you should hug someone on a regular basis. Reminders of Childhood Hugging someone harkens back to the safety of being a child in the loving arms of a parent or grandparent. When you feel as though one more thing will be one thing too much, and burn out is approaching, taking the time to hug someone you trust can make a tremendous difference. It can also open the door to a more intimate and transparent conversation about how you are feeling and what you need to get through this time. Hug someone to reassure both of you that your relationship Read more…

When someone is diagnosed with cancer, naturally, the primary concern on everyone’s mind is the patient. As time goes on, the patient’s primary caregiver often begins to experience caregiver burnout.  Thankfully, there are people who take on the task of caring for the caregiver. They are angels in disguise. This series comes from chapter 10 of my book, Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone who has Cancer. Facing Cancer as a Friend is available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. The Value of a Caregiver: Priceless An estimated 44 million Americans ages 18 and older provide unpaid assistance and support to older people and adults with disabilities who live in the community.1 The value of this unpaid labor force is estimated Read more…

Give up the caregiver Guilt

Guilt is a really common feeling among caregivers. It can also be destructive in your life and your family. Why do we feel this way? Sometimes, it’s because we’ve done something we are ashamed of. Maybe you snapped at your loved one because you’re tired, hungry, or just plain old cranky. Maybe it was because they were out of line. But there’s this nagging thought in the back of your mind, telling you that they should get a pass because they have cancer. Who’s going to give you a pass? Hopefully, they will (and you certainly should), especially if you’ve apologized and tried to make amends. We all make mistakes in relationships. This is why forgiveness is so important, to give and to accept. Give up Read more…

Financial Help

Cancer will take a terrible toll on a family’s finances. There are medical and transportation expenses, as well as the hit your finances will take when you and your spouse need to take time off of work for appointments and sick days. There are countless other things that add up to a big gaping hole in your bank account. Playing catch up as well as the stress of the unknown can certainly lead to burnout. There are several types of financial help to combat burnout. It’s always best to consider the various possible sources of financial help long before you need them. Immediately get your budget in order You need to know exactly what’s going out and what’s coming in before you can adjust to Read more…

Young Adult Caregivers

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Facing Cancer with Grace, I will focus on caregiving. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, where I will share ways to increase your creativity. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is E is for Exercise Increases Creativity. Young adults, ages 18-26 take a close second to infants, when it comes to being overlooked and under-supported, as they live with a parent’s cancer diagnosis. To drop them off the radar when they turn 18 is really a disservice to them. Even though their emotional and physical growth has slowed down, having an adult body does Read more…

How Cancer has Changed my life

We’ve been looking at resilience. Part of resilience is being able to look at how you’ve responded to a trial such as cancer. How has it changed you or your life—both for the better and the worse?  If you asked me how cancer has changed my life, I might tell you that I smile less. I know that’s not the “right” answer, but it is the honest answer. When Dan was first diagnosed there was a time of despair. It was like the world was ending. In truth, it was just our world, as we knew it, that was ending. Cancer has changed my life We learned to live with it. We adapted, became stronger in many ways. It progressively gots harder but we learned Read more…

Eliminate One Obligation

Do you feel like you are spread a bit thin? When you look at your calendar, does it make you tired? Today, we are going to lighten that load a bit as we eliminate one obligation. An obligation could be anything you feel like you should do. This might be work-related or it could be something you feel obligated to do because you’ve always done it. You can’t scratch everything from your schedule, but there’s always something you can. You have daily, obligations, but it’s likely those are pretty important. Monthly and annual obligations are often low impact, so they can stay as they are for now. Weekly obligations, however, make a significant impact on your life. When you eliminate one obligation a week it Read more…

The Daily Examen

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Facing Cancer with Grace, I will focus on caregiving. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, where I will share ways to increase your creativity. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is X is for Daily Examen (I know it’s not technically an X word, but hopefully, you’ll forgive me). As a caregiver, there are a lot of ups and downs each day. People often ask how I deal with that. One way is the Daily Examen, The Examen is a method of prayer and meditation first practiced by St. Ignatius of Loyola, a Spanish Read more…

Date Night

The first time my husband and I went on a date, it was to the local coffee shop. He was playing it safe. If the date was a flop, at least it wouldn’t cost him a fortune and the night didn’t have to run long. I was having a problem with my hearing. I could barely hear a word he said over the background hum of the shop. So, I smiled and nodded. Apparently, it worked because he asked me out the following week for dinner. Eventually, we got engaged. One night as we were on our weekly date, we were talking about our upcoming wedding. Dan told me that he intended to keep dating me. “Every week from now on, we are going to Read more…

Clear the clutter to avoid burnout

Today you are going to clear the clutter from one area of your life. Any area…You get to choose. This morning I’ve been running around looking for a copy of orders for labs that my daughter’s doctor gave me a couple of months ago. She has an appointment at the lab tomorrow and I’m supposed to bring them with, but can I find them? No. That’s because my home is cluttered and disorganized. Some of it is mental chaos after the holidays, but there’s really no excuse. SO it’s time to clear the clutter. Clear the clutter from your home This is a tough area to keep in order when you are living with cancer. Housework tends to get tossed to the wayside in favor Read more…

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