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How To Bring All Your Caregiver Rituals Together

Jun 30, 2021

Originally, this was going to be a three-part series about how rituals can help caregivers keep their sanity and achieve balanced success. But I thought I’d tie it all together in this fourth bonus post. (If you haven’t read any of the series, you can start with Part 1 here.)

And I do mean bonus. Keep reading – I have a couple of little bonuses for you below!

Have You Chosen Your Caregiver Rituals?

But first – how have your rituals been going so far? Are you finding them helpful? Or are you having some trouble getting into the swing of them?

If you’ve hit some speed bumps, you’re not alone! Rituals can be extremely helpful, but they can take a lot of energy in the beginning – energy we may not always feel we have. That’s part of the reason I wanted to add this fourth post in the series, because I have a way for you to overcome that...

In Part 1, we talked about how rituals are different than habits. However, there is some overlap....

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6 Evening Rituals to Help Caregivers Wind Down from Their Day

Jun 21, 2021

Part 3 of 3: How Rituals Can Save Your Sanity and Make You a Better Caregiver

In Part 1 of this series, we reviewed the difference between rituals, routines, and habits. (If you haven’t read Part 1 – “What is a Ritual – and How Can It Help Caregivers?”, start there!) Then, in Part 2 of this series, we talked about the 5 Morning Rituals that Can Help Caregivers Face the Day.

Mindfulness can help caregivers clear their mind as part of their evening ritual to wind down.Daily rituals involve mindfulness, which can help us “get in the zone” as caregivers. Being a caregiver is difficult and stressful. Rituals help us process that stress and the emotions behind it, and allow us to compartmentalize our lives to a certain extent. Mindfulness in particular is also one of the five steps in the MOVE Method, an approach I developed to help reduce caregiver compassion fatigue. The goal of all these techniques is to help you thrive, not just survive, so you can achieve Balanced Success!

I fully believe that how you end your day is just as important...

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5 Morning Rituals That Can Help Caregivers Face the Day

Jun 02, 2021

Part 2 of 3: How Rituals Can Save Your Sanity and Make You a Better Caregiver

In Part 1 of this series, we reviewed the difference between rituals, routines, and habits. (If you haven’t read Part 1 – “What is a Ritual – and How Can It Help Caregivers?”, you should read it first!) The main difference is that rituals involve mindfulness, allowing us to be in the moment and reflect on where we are, mind, body, and soul. This is also one of the five steps in the MOVE Method, an approach I developed to help reduce caregiver compassion fatigue.

In this post, we’ll explore how morning rituals can help you centre yourself so you can face the day and reach Balanced Success.

Attitude is everything, as they say. Although that’s too simplistic to be entirely true, getting yourself into the right mindset is important. Not only will it make you a better caregiver, it will help you be a calmer person – you don’t want to be so on edge that you...

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Recipe of the Month: Berry Chicken Salad

May 31, 2021

As the weather becomes warmer and we are able to see the light of day again, I hope that you will enjoy this summer recipe that I made for my husband on days when I don’t want to turn on the stove.

Enjoy as it is packed with protein and there is always enough for leftovers.

Berry Chicken Salad

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup olive oil mayonnaise or plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar (optional-I never use it)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon of dried tarragon
  • 1 ½ cups chopped or shredded leftover chicken (1 bigger breast)
  • 1 cup quartered fresh strawberries or whole fresh blueberries
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen peas, thawed
  • ¼ cup chopped celery
  • Torn salad greens or spinach
  • Handful of finely chopped pecans lightly toasted (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Whisk the first 4 ingredients together in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Add chicken, berries, peas, celery, and stir well to combine.
  3. Scoop chicken salad over salad greens or...
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What is a Ritual – and How Can It Help Caregivers?

May 19, 2021

Part 1 of 3: How Rituals Can Save Your Sanity and Make You a Better Caregiver

We talked briefly in the MOVE Method post about how a morning rituals can help you boost your emotions and give yourself a positive start to the day. That resonated with quite a few readers – due in no small part to the pandemic, I’m sure. We’ve all started our days for the last 15 months or so being dragged down mental health’s sliding scale.

In this series of three blog posts, How Rituals Can Save Your Sanity and Make You a Better Caregiver, I want to delve into rituals a bit further. As the title suggests, rituals help anchor you, help you keep your sanity, and help you become a better caregiver.

And rituals aren’t just for morning routines. I and my coaching clients have found evening rituals to be extremely helpful as well. Coupled with morning rituals, evening rituals are like bookends to the day that help us take a few moments to get centred once again.

But first,...

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Three Tips for Better Caregiver Communication Skills

May 05, 2021

Three's Company became a classic TV show based on the fact that miscommunications happen all the time.Communication is one of the most complex things we do as humans. Of course, communication is about talking – trying to find the right words to express your ideas and interpreting the words of others. But communication also involves picking up on social and other cues – not to mention picking up on what’s not being said. We take all these tiny bits of information flying at us every millisecond to put together what we believe to be a coherent picture.

With such complex interactions, we’re bound to get it wrong from time to time. In most of our daily interactions, “getting it wrong” leads to minor miscommunications that are usually easily solved. (Hey, without misunderstandings, we wouldn’t have had Three’s Company...) But when a parent or loved one relies upon us for so much, “getting it right” suddenly becomes a whole lot more important.

Here are three ways you can improve your caregiver communications skills starting right...

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Are You Suffering from Caregiver Compassion Fatigue without Even Knowing It?

Apr 21, 2021

Compassion fatigue is the opposite of the Mother Teresa Effect.Caregiver compassion fatigue is the flip side of another well-known occurrence: the Mother Teresa Effect. Recognized in the 1980s, the Mother Teresa Effect breaks down to this. When you do good for people around you – even people you don’t know – you feel better. Not only that, you actually, physically are better too. At least one study showed that people who went out of their way to help others boosted their immunity to colds and other infections

But even Mother Teresa knew that caring for others could go too far. She understood about compassion fatigue long before the term existed. (Coincidentally, compassion fatigue was also first defined in the 1980s.) Mother Teresa mandated that her nuns take a year off every four or five years in order to essentially heal themselves.

And it makes sense. How often do you say that you wish you could take some of their pain and suffering away and put it on yourself?

Here’s the thing though: in many ways, we actually...

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Caregivers: Help Yourselves with the MOVE Method

Apr 07, 2021

The irony for most caregivers is that we don’t give enough care to ourselves. Our focus is ensuring we’re meeting the needs of our parent or loved one. In fact the very thought of doing something for ourselves feels somehow... selfish.

Here’s the fact though: not taking care of yourself is more selfish!

Being a caregiver requires a lot of our time and energy. Most of us also have other priorities – our own families, work, and other obligations. We are stretched so thinly that any little tear threatens to drop the whole load like an over-stretched trampoline.

When it gets to that point, we are literally not as effective as we could be – or should be – for our parent or loved one we are taking care of.

That’s why taking care of ourselves is so important. It’s better for our mental health. It’s better for those around us. And, it ultimately makes us a better caregiver. One note: although we talk about family caregivers here, all the...

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What’s Behind My Parent’s Behavioural Changes?

Mar 24, 2021

Why Our Loved Ones Are Changing and How We Can Help Them

Previously we talked about the Top Five Signs It’s Time to Think about In-Home Care for Your Aging Parent. But one of the things people keep asking us is, why do these changes in behaviour happen in the first place?

Of course the easy answer is that they’re getting older. But there are actually several possible explanations, either working together or separately. If we can determine what’s behind your parent’s behavioural changes, you’ll be in a better position to help them.

Three Common Reasons Behind Behavioural Changes

Here are three common reasons why your parent’s behaviour may change to the point where they need in-home care:

  • Cognitive changes
  • Physical changes
  • “Too much on their plates”

This is not an exclusive list. There are other factors including depression and disease. Which brings up an important point – always involve your parent’s primary care provider...

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Top Five Signs It’s Time to Think About In-Home Care for Your Aging Parent

Mar 10, 2021

A friend of mine told me that the moment she realized her father needed in-home care was the moment he set his housecoat on fire.

She laughed as she described it – the whole thing sounds like a sitcom episode with Fred Willard hilariously flaying about trying to douse the flames. Nobody was laughing at the time though – it was a big wake-up call for everyone.

The thing is, her father wasn’t doing anything unusual. He was cooking his breakfast as he did every morning. Somehow, part of the terrycloth touched the burner and the cotton just flared up.

Luckily, he put the flames out quickly and was okay. But I still wince to think how much worse it could have been. It left my friend a bit scared and confused as well. Suddenly she was faced with something we all dread: that moment when you realize the roles have reversed, and you are the one looking after your parents.

Reaching this level of understanding is difficult and often heart-wrenching. Too often, it takes a...

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