To all of the amazing caregivers, family and professional, in hospitals, nursing homes, or elsewhere who have been literally risking their health, their very lives and well-being, this is a tribute and salute to you. May you always be aware of the deep gratitude and admiration so strongly felt by all of us for your dedication, caring hearts and sacrifice to help our nation conquer COVID-19.
Blessing for Caregivers written by Karen Bonnell, Music: Stuart Shelton, from the CD Music Dimensions, available on Amazon.com
"Be excessively gentle with yourself." ~John O'Donohue
This is undeniably, incredibly hard. I was a caregiver for my mother for 17 years, and we weathered multiple hurricanes and hospital stays, pneumonia, falls, and other assorted emergencies, but never a pandemic. During the last months of her life, my mother was in a nursing home and they had an outbreak of flu so bad that they closed to everyone in order to contain it. As irony would have it, I caught the flu there and was then unable to go back to visit my mother for 8 of the longest weeks of my life. So, I do have the very deepest empathy for any family member who is separated from their loved one during this crisis. Unable even to say goodbye. It's heartbreaking, deeply distressing and emotionally devastating. My tears have flowed with those of family members sitting outside the nursing home window with their loved on on the other side.
I cannot really imagine how difficult it is to navigate this crisis, but I would say to anyone caught in this cauldron of fear, pain, helplessness -- keep your focus on what you CAN do -- express your love and be present in any way possible. Use a phone call or video chat or a greeting card or photo held up to a window -- whatever works in your particular circumstance, do your best. And know in your own heart that you are doing the best anyone can in an impossible situation. Try to keep yourself calm and centered by any means -- prayer, deep breathing, meditation, yoga are all valuable helps. Know that others are with you in spirit, praying for your strength and safety. Be at peace. Be excessively gentle with yourself.
Well, fast forward seven years from my last post on this subject. It got sort of lost in the busyness of life, but now the research and support for various types of meditation, such as mindfulness-based stress reduction and kirtan kriya have a much broader base of information to bolster the early claims.
I am creating a link to a Youtube video I found for doing this simple 12-minute (or so) meditation which involves chanting or singing four syllables: SA TA NA MA. First, you sing them aloud for 2 minutes, then you whisper them for 2 minutes, then silently say them for 4 minutes, then whisper again for 2 minutes, then aloud again for 2 minutes. The music and voice will keep you on track so you don't have to time anything. While doing the above, you sit in whatever way is comfortable for you, close your eyes and touch your index finger, middle finger, ring finger and pinky to your thumbs as you sing, whisper or silently repeat the four syllables. The image in the video demonstrates this.
Now, I know this is a little bit "out there" for some of my readers, but, hey--is improving your cognition and strengthening the hippocampus of your brain to help prevent Alzheimer's worth 12 minutes a day of your time? Try it for 6 weeks and see if you notice a difference. I'd love to hear your feedback!
There are only four kinds of people in the world - those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers.-- Rosalynn Carter
Wellness is about so much more than just the state of our physical health. The word has been tossed around so much it has almost lost its meaning. I believe the wellness concept is a holistic one: encompassing the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual parts of us. So, in order to bring ourselves into the highest state of balance in all these areas requires some thinking and acting "outside the box".
Caregivers come in all different and unique packages; some are thrust into the caregiver role unwillingly, others embrace it wholeheartedly. We are carers for different conditions, ages, relationships, yet we all share a common bond in being one who cares for another. In that, we can relate to others in this same life journey and by sharing our thoughts and experiences, we can make the path easier for each other.
One thing most caregiving bears in common is that it takes time and energy, in differing amounts, perhaps, but still relevant. One must learn to keep the demands in balance with all other life activities. Obviously, it can get very hard to do that.
Another commonality is that most caregivers are truly "givers" -- they give love, support, kindness, patience (on a good day!), transportation, food, time, and basically whatever is needed by the one for whom they are caring. That's where this website can help! There is an abundance of practical information linked here, but the heart of a caregiver is what I am most interested in exploring and protecting. I found, in my 17 years of caring for my mother, that I almost disappeared in the midst of fulfilling her needs. It was a gradual disappearing act, but nonetheless, pretty dramatic. I want to attempt to share the benefit of some tools that I either learned the hard way, in life's school of hard knocks, or realized after the fact, when I actually had time to ponder such things. I wish that someone had thrown me a lifeline and smacked me over the head with it until I paid attention to the fact that I was drowning.
So, if you are going down for the third time, gasping for air, grab hold of the lifeline this website is throwing, come aboard and start finding your own way to true wellness and balance. The tools are all available here. No drowning necessary!
2/19/2018 0 Comments
Please enjoy this excerpt from my book, Sanity Savers: For Caregivers at the End of Their Rope. This is the humorous story of the Pantyhose Principle: asking for help when you truly need it.
Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, there lived a young maid who cut her thumb doing something too stupid to mention here, and had to have microsurgery to reattach the nerve, requiring her right (primary) arm to be in a cast from fingertips up past the elbow for weeks. This was an amazingly annoying daily trial, causing the young maid endless aggravation and helplessness in doing even the basic activities of daily living -- particularly personal grooming. All the things one takes completely for granted, such as brushing teeth, getting dressed, showering and blow-drying hair became monumental challenges, exercises in logistics and planning. Now, picture this young maid trying to put on a pair of pantyhose with her left hand only; never mind why! It seemed necessary at the time. See her rolling around on the bed, breaking into a sweat and uttering some unladylike words with the supreme effort. See her husband rolling on the floor laughing as he watched. Of course, this only fueled the young maid’s fierce determination to do this silly task herself! Imagine her chagrin to have to admit defeat, swallow her pride, what little was left, and humbly ask for help before he lost consciousness from laughing too hard.
Alas, finally, with his help I, er, the young maid was wearing the pantyhose in the right places. 'Twas a very tough, humiliating lesson. Ergo, the wisdom of the Pantyhose Principle emerged.
This is a true story and reflects in a humorous way the challenges one can face as a caregiver, too. The lesson here is to just stop struggling so hard and ask for help. Simple, but NOT easy! Most caregivers start out feeling they must handle everything on their own and may find it difficult to reach out for help, but I hope you will remember the Pantyhose Principle if you are at a decision point. To avoid burnout, and provide better care, (plus keep your sanity safely intact) be attuned to when you are reaching a point of no return and ask for help.
Are you at the end of your caregiving rope? You can tie a knot and hang out there, swing back and forth, or learn how to make a hammock of support for yourself and your care receiver. Sanity Savers is a new e-book to support caregivers with practical tips, gentle self-care and self-nurturing techniques and a healthy dose of humor, to make life less of a struggle and more a loving learning experience. Learn how to live with high-level wellness and practice safe sanity, starting now...
Karen is a compassionate, enthusiastic student of life, who cared for her mother for 17 years. She brings her insights, compassion, experience and desire to share knowledge and healing to this ongoing conversation with others on the caregiving path. If you are caring for a parent, spouse, friend or other loved one this site offers sanity-saving tips, open-hearted self-care ideas, and an open forum for discussion, connection and sharing resources for the journey.
All Acceptance Aging Together Alan Cohen Alive Inside Movie Alzheimer's Alzheimer's Prevention A Mind Of Your Own Anxiety Aromatherapy Audio Therapy For PTSD Austin Air Hepa Filter Autism Back Care Video Beginner's Mind Being Present Blessing For Caregivers Books Brain Insulin Butterfly Story Calm Calm.com App Care For Veterans Caregiver Advocate Caregiver Coalition Caregiver Comfort Kit Caregiver Guilt Caregiver Retreat Caregiver's Serenity Prayer Caregiver Stress Caregiver Support Care Giving Caregiving Vulnerability Care In Hospital Caterpillar Into Butterflies Chamomile Tea Cindy Laverty Comedian Computers & Exercise Crisis Dan Cohen Deepak Chopra Delirium Depression Diabetes Disaster Preparedness Distractions Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa Dr. Oliver Sacks Eden Alternative Eldershire Elizabeth Dole Foundation Emergency Planning Emergency Preparation Emerson End Of Caregiving Enough Already Escapism Essential Oils Food Safety Forgiveness Funny Stories Gaiam.com Gail Sheehy Gift Of Alzheimer Gift Of Healing Presence GMO Food Green House Project Gregory Fricchione Md Grief Guilt Happy Light Healing Holding Hands Home As Sanctuary Hope Hospital Caregiving Hospital Stay Humor Inspirational Reading Ipods For Nursing Homes Isolation Jacksonville James E. Miller John Denver Johns Hopkins Study John T. McFadden Jon Kabat-Zinn Kelly Brogan Kirtan Kriya Meditation Lao Tzu Laugh Laughter Lavender Loneliness Loss Of Purpose Love Love In The Nursing Home Maya Angelou Mayo Clinic Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Blog MD Meditation Meditation Garden Melatonin Memory Memory Cafe Military Caregiver Mindfulness Meditation Mr. Bean Music Music & Alzheimer Music And Memory Neurological Research Noise Pollution Operation Family Caregiver Opportunity Overnight Respite Care Pandemic Passages In Caregiving Patience Paul Coelho Peace Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Power Of Love Prayer PTSD Quality Of Sleep Radical Contentment Relaxation Releasing Problems Renewal Research Respite Rewind Rodney Yee Rosalynn Carter Rosalynn Carter Institute For Caregiving Rowan Atkinson Sanctuary Sanity Self Care Serenity Silence Sleep Slowing Time Solutions Soothing Music Stress Stress Relief Sun Sunshine Support For Caregivers Tai Chi Thanksgiving The Care Company The Kiss Time Traumatic Brain Injury Travel With Alzheimer's Person Treat VA Caregivers Valentine's Day Verilux Veteran Farms Veterans Veteran Suicide Vitamin D Wayne W. Dyer Wellness Wendell Berry White Noise William H. Thomas Worry Yoga Yoga Video
Original content © Copyright 2012-2020 Karen Bonnell all rights reserved