Tag Archives: caregiver

Staying Balanced

Are you feeling like you need to come up for air? Gasping and gulping in fresh air before taking another dive? That’s me, too! Taking vacations can definitely help, but we need to “breathe” more often than that.

I am already seeing some leaves changing color. Yesterday, a couple yellow leaves skittered across the still verdant and rapidly growing lawn. A quick look around at some sassafras saplings showed speckles of orange leaves.

Where’s the ‘pause’ button? Summer’s half over and there are already signs of fall in mid-July! Yikes!

One thing I’ve gleaned from our daughter’s successful completion of residency in family medicine – is how to survive and thrive. She had, very carefully, selected a residency program that ensured plenty of coping skills with all of its residents including:

  • Weekly group, how-are-you-doing, sessions of sharing the good/bad/ugly happenings, which became spring boards for processing their intense experiences.
  • Every-other-week meditative sessions with the entire group of residents took mental processing into the physical and spiritual realm.
  • Naturally, there was regular exercise emphasizing outdoor experiences … often in groups.
  • Frequent and spontaneous group meals, featuring nutritious whole food.
  • Their group was ever-vigilant to ‘pick up a brother’ when they fell into difficult times.
  • Lots of hugs. The real ones that last for at least three breaths. The healing kind.

What’s the ‘take away’ from all of this?

We cope and heal on so many levels, that a multifaceted approach is best.

In my case as a 24/7 caregiver, just getting away several times a week has helped – but only so much. Solo trips to the gym or walks around the waterfront answered only a part of my needs.

A quiet lunch with a friend or two is helpful; but sharing a meal with several friends meets needs you might not know were there.

What is the dynamic of a larger group?

Perhaps it’s because the conversation is not just about us.

We pour our hearts out to a friend — and that has its place.  Usually in group conversation, however, the talk bounces around; others throw thoughts into the mix, and more diverse news is shared.

There is so much more inner balance to be experienced when we participate in groups of 5-6 or more. Our perspective broadens and, quite frankly, it is so refreshing to have the focus on someone else for a bit. Additionally, we may be just who someone else needs to provide a different thought or a helping hand.

I am seeing that the scope of my ‘balancing needs’ is much broader than I had thought.

  • Improved nutrition- check
  • Time away from responsibilities- check
  • Gym 2-3 times a week-check
  • Meals with a friend or two- check
  • Personal meditation and prayer- check
  • Small group activities — need to do this more

Life is like a multifaceted gem. We need to move it around to let the light shine into all of its angles in order to appreciate its full brilliance.

Coping and balancing are the same. Are you shining light into all of your facets to achieve that inner balance?

I’m still learning … and that’s the best part!

Always learning.








In Times of Stress

What do you do in times of stress? How do you recover? What calms you? Where do you find peace?

I have disappeared because of a heightened family medical situation Food-talk-4-u-stress-1that has certainly taken a toll on all of us. The crisis of the other day is over, but we are facing the new “normal” and anticipating more downward changes. What was a logical future weakness has arrived and is no longer theoretical. Four and a half hours in medical offices one day, followed by appointments the next, really takes a toll.

Food-talk-4-u-stress-5My starch is all gone. Recharging is needed. Caregivers need to take care of themselves in order to take care of the loved one.

Reaching out to family and friends is vital to staying grounded, don’t you think? There are things you do not share with family, though, and that’s where friends come in! Thank God for both family and friends! Thank God for life and love itself!

I have had to step back from posting because, well, there was no time left, let alone energy. That is still somewhat the case. Food-Talk-4-U-squirrel

I regroup in God’s creation as seen from my back porch! Feeding humming birds, cardinals, blue jays, mocking birds, and the like, as well as my beloved squirrels, is what keeps me smiling! Porch time is definitely needed. Being outdoors, watching, and listening to the plentiful activity is “soul sauce” for me!

Food-Talk-4-U-scrambled-eggsKnowing stress really takes a toll on everyone experiencing it, makes me even more mindful of feeding my body only nutrient-dense food. This is no time for junk food… Not that there ever is any around here! Big Egg Scramble this morning with…You guessed it…Left over zoodles! Still lots of fresh veggies to go with lean protein at night. Never, ever any gluten!

Exercise should not be throwcaregiver-hin out the door, either! Sometimes exercise is just what is needed to get the blood stirring around a little bit better and to engage the mind on something else. I literally have just paused from writing this and come back from doing 6 slow-motion non-weighted squats; ten count down, ten count hold, ten count up. Didn’t want to do it, but I feel better now! So simple. If the temperature outside doesn’t get to unbearable today, I’ll go for a walk, too.

Food-talk-4-u-stress-2Since the detox phase is breadless even if the bread is gluten-free, I will share with you an awesome all-purpose gravy recipe that goes great on all kind of meat. That will be in the next post.

Now, off to the porch for prayers of thanksgiving and to soak up God’s creation!