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Caregiver Take Care of Yourself First

Caregiver Program for Recovery – CPR

If you are in a caregiver role, you need to hear these words; “You are a blessing to the one in need and you are doing a good job!”  

As a  caregiver, it’s normal to have doubts, to feel overwhelmed and maybe even feel under-appreciated.  I don’t know whether your personal journey of care-giving may involve an elderly parent or someone else dealing with a very serious illness, but either way, it can be stressful for all involved.  I recently was on a journey like this with my parents and it was extremely taxing however, it taught me what tools could help me make it to the next day. Now, I can share some of these tools with you.  

Try to keep in mind that the person you are caring for most likely wishes they could do things on their own instead of relying on you.  This may cause them to lack patience or be agitated at times. Just recall when you were a child and all you wanted to do was grow up so you could show others you could do things for yourself.   They are losing that independence and it can be very uncomfortable for them to ask for help. You too may lack patience and I know that is never easy, especially if you do not understand the limitations the other is going through.  May I suggest that you put yourself in their shoes? I bet they would gladly trade places with you!

My advice to you is that provided by the airline industry.  In the event of a change in (cabin) pressure, “put the oxygen mask on yourself first, before helping the person next to you”.  So here is the point of that statement.  It’s important for you as a caregiver to take care of yourself and not lose your own health while caring for another, thus give yourself time to breathe. If that comment sounds selfish to you, I understand that “servant-attitude.” And I appreciate where you are coming from, however, if you get “taken out” due to not caring for self, what good are you then to the person in need?  

So let me start by asking you to look at your emotional health on the journey.  Do you feel overwhelmed, angry, sad, guilty, shameful, resentful, afraid etc.? These are normal feelings and each person will feel something different because all of our circumstances are different. And please hear this, your feelings are yours so don’t try to make them right or wrong!  Just notice them and take steps to move to a more balanced place. 

My recommendation to achieve more balance is to look at your emotions and those of the person for whom you are caring.  I use a very simple self-test I call the Emotional Questionnaire.  It is available to you at no charge and makes recommendations for Bach Flower Essences. These can be ordered from our practice or you can find them at local health food stores. Simply read the directions and answer the questions, then tally your results and read the description for the one that describes you the best.  You may need more than one, and in fact, the top three may be what you need. I do not recommend more than three at a time. You can take a few drops in your mouth or add a few drops in your water to support you throughout the day. In severe times, take 3 drops as often as every 15 minutes.   If you have trouble deciding which is best for you, you may need to set an appointment with our office. We can assist you in person or over the phone.

The Cortices Technique is another tool I recommend to everyone as it assists in bringing a calming over your nervous system by helping your right and left brain to improve communication.  This is the first technique taught in our BodyTalk Access class and each one builds on the body’s ability to support Wellness. This technique can also be applied to the person you are caring for as well.  Now, if you have already taken the class, you know the extreme value at your fingertips to apply not only Cortices, but also your technique for raising your stress threshold, improving cell hydration, addressing body chemistry factors such as viruses and bacteria, as well as your complete body realigning technique to help keep your structure tuned up.  

My next recommendation is time for self such as reading, listening to music, massage, reflexology, light exercise and prayer/meditation will go a very long way to provide you time to rejuvenate.  I enjoy listening to a CD of tracks called Wholetones.  They provide different tracks to support different body parts and moods you might be experiencing. This is not only great for you but also the one you are caring for as it can be played at a low volume in the background. I recommend 30 minutes a day of some kind of activity like this and when your day looks especially hectic, I would wake up earlier to allow more quiet time for yourself to regroup and rejuvenate.

I understand that time is limited so finding a tool that provides support but requires little effort may be necessary.  I found myself using a Balance Bracelet not only for myself but for my elderly parents. We call them Body Shields because they shield you from environmental impacts such as electromagnetic fields (EMF).  EMF can have a negative impact on many people and they don’t even know that it may be causing; headaches, backaches, and vision impacts not to mention overall mental clarity.  EMFs are energy waves that are transmitted from electronic devices like computers, fluorescent lights, cell phones, microwaves, etc. In my office, we use a Tip-Test to demonstrate the power of this bracelet.  What is actually happening is that balancing frequencies are imprinted on the bracelet and these, in turn, help your body’s meridian system or energy field resonate at a more balanced frequency, a bit like a tuning fork.  In the tip-test, we can actually demonstrate how much stronger one’s body is while wearing the shield vs. not.

Again, knowing that time is of the essence when caring for another, I cannot recommend enough a relaxation technique called the Tahiti Vacation Relaxation Technique.  It is equal to four hours of sleep in fifteen minutes.  Need I say more? It is designed to address adrenal stress.  What is that? It is when your body has been taxed for so long that your adrenals are drained from producing adrenaline to keep you going for the most basic of tasks.  Adrenaline is supposed to be produced when your body is facing an urgent situation and you need extreme energy to get away to safety. It is NOT supposed to be produced in high amounts every day just to help you manage a normal workload.

There are supplements that can also support you through high amounts of stress.  I recommend ashwagandha and kava forte to name a couple. These are great for stress, but are not for everyone.  Each person is unique and requires unique supplementation. Sometimes one might just need the right vitamin B or minerals.  Have you ever known someone that had a diet that worked for their friend but not for them? That is because we are unique and each person does not require a one size fits all solution.  This is not a game to be guessing about. We provide a tool to allow you to identify what body systems might benefit the most from supplementation and at the dosage unique for you. If this is of interest to you, please contact us for the link and access code.

I hope you will find some of these tools helpful for your journey and I’ll ask you to share with us your successes with any of these suggestions.  It’s important to note that it may take time for your body to fully recover. Be patient with yourself. During stressful times, it is easy to forget what we have at our fingertips which is why this information is being shared.  Take your time and ease into this with the one tool that sounds most beneficial to you at this time. You do not have to do any of these suggestions all at once and all of them can be performed independent of the others. Give yourself permission to take care of you!