Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Two R's

When people hear the term R and R they tend to think about rest and relaxation.  These are two words that generally don't come across my normal work week-- or even my vocabulary-- to be honest.  I don't like to rest because it gets me stiff and relaxing seems to be more stressful than it's worth at times with 2 young kids, a husband, and ill relatives.

I'm sure all of you have come across a vacation or two that you took, but wished you didn't because the work load at work (or at home) was twice as much when you went back.  I have felt that on more than one occasion when I was working a manager's position at a popular retail store chain. 

When I got back, I felt guilty about leaving, feared for my job, and over compensated by trying to finish all the stuff that was "left" for me to take care of.  My "to-do" list was huge the first few days back and I worked like a crazy woman to get things done.  This, of course, was not good for me or my health because I wound up working overtime to finish things that should have been taken care of by someone else.

Jobs most certainly can suck because of this, sometimes home life can too.  People today, unfortunately, just don't have the time to help out others.  We have become trapped in our own little cubical that we call life.  Our co-workers, our friends, our neighbors, and even some of our relatives can become strangers to us because we get caught up in our mundane, bill paying lives.

Some people try to spiritually search out why they are being so mundane, and some just turn a blind eye to it.  No matter which you do, it does not matter, because that not the subject of this blog.  I will never, not ever preach to any of you a doctrine of religious beliefs.  I'm not like that because I'm a firm believer in believing what is good for the soul.  I can't feed your soul because I don't know it-- and that's more so the topic of today-- feed your soul!

One has to feed the soul the way that is best for them.  I find that meditation, reflection, and deep breathing works for me.  I make it part of my R and R ritual.  I've discussed a bit of meditation in a previous blog, as well as, my books, so I won't bore you with that here.  Instead, I'll discuss reflection and deep breathing.

Reflection can be simple or complex, it depends upon how deep you would like to take the subject.  I've always loved to reflect on things, even as a child, but once I got to college, I loved it even more in philosophy. 

Philosophy is a beautiful course because it can take the mind to places that it may not ever go unless provoked.  I remember talking to a philosophy student who was contemplating a world made of nerf and how that world might be.  Silly?  Maybe, if you don't let your mind go with it.  If you do, the possibilities are endless...

People would not need guns.  Rubber rooms would be non-existent.  Conflict would be taken to a ball field.  The job of a policeman might not be.  People might actually be kinder to one another... the thoughts could go on and on when you reflect on this.

Granted, reflecting over a land of nerf might not be everyone's cup of tea, but reflection of the day's events can help you to determine your mind set for the evening, or even the next day.  If you've had a particularly bad day, you may want to readjust your diet or your work load for the next day to prevent a major flare.  Sometimes this is your best safe guard.

When all else fails, you can try a little deep breathing.  Sound crazy?  Well, maybe, but not to a three year old.  A parent who has tried to teach their little one the art of working through frustration can totally relate to this.  Sometimes you just have to stop and breathe before you do anything. 

Just today I had to go to the food store for my Grandparents and took my two year old for the trip.  She had just woken from a nap so I thought she'd be refreshed for a nice trip out.  Once we got there, however, I found out exactly how sorely mistaken I was...

My little one decided to have a meltdown right upon entering the store.  She didn't want to be in a cart, she didn't want to walk along side me, and she certainly did not want to be reasoned with.  Her screams were pretty loud, and I was feeling like the worst mother in the world for bringing a totally cranky kid out, so I proceeded to nearest exit.  Makes them scream louder by the way LOL!

We get to the car and she throws a fit about getting into the car seat.  Now I'm stressed and haven't a clue as to what to do.  Do I risk going back in?  Do I try and leave?  Do I sit there for a minute and hope she calms down?

Well, I decided to sit there a bit because I was already having a bad day with Grandpa.  He was confused and not talking straight and it was hard to understand what he was trying to convey.  My little one seemed to like looking at the sea gulls and I thought all might be good, so I tried to put her in the car seat again.  Well, that didn't work.

Finally, I took a deep breath, tried to release all of my anxiety from the task at hand and relax.  Once I relaxed, a thought came into my head.  The thought?  To call my father who lived literally 5 minutes away from the store I was at.  My father, or PopPop, as my daughters like to call him, was home with Ama, my mother, Uncle Ronnie, my brother, Jon, the cat, and Emma, the dog.

It took a bit of convincing, but my little one calmed down enough to go over there for a few minutes so I could shop for my Grandparents.  The moral?  Find your breath of fresh air so your inner voice can talk to you.  Find your special place or time to reflect on what you need to-- be it a room, a park, or a journal.  Find these things, feed your soul, and be well!

Stay Fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Monday, January 18, 2010

DIY: Herbal Cough Drops

DIY: Herbal Cough Drops

I am not a fan of any store bought cough drop remedies that contain artificial colors or dyes. I managed to eliminate all artificial colors and flavors from my regular diet, but when it came to being sick, I felt helpless because there was not many good choices out there. This recipe is made with all natural ingredients, something I appreciate, and this is definitely something I'll be doing in the future! I thought I'd pass this information along to all of you too.

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Courting the Cranberry

Courting the Cranberry

This article about cranberries helping with cholesterol may also help people who suffer with Fibro. It has been thought that Fibro sufferers and Chronic Fatigue sufferers are deficient in B vitamins, hence, some of them receive B shots from their doctor. Cranberry juice (or extract) has been shown to help with the absorption of B12, a vitamin required by the body for normal neurological function. Since fibro sufferers do not have normal neurological function, B12 is considered the culprit in some health care circles.

The article states that you can either take a supplement or drink the juice (3 glasses) to achieve the benefits. Now, I'm not stating that I believe whole-heartedly that a lack of B vitamins are the know all and be all of our Fibro problems. In fact, I think Fibro stems from a number of factors. But, vitamins can help. With this kind of good news, I think I'll be drinking it more often!

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Caregivers deserve a PAT

I've had the topic of caregivers on the brain a lot lately because of my Mother, Grandmother, and Grandfather.  It's hard to envision such lovely, vibrant ,people, ill, and yet, it's a reality that most of us will face.  They are not the only ones in the family that are ill, there are a few other members that are dealing with cancer and one member just recently had surgery to remove a brain tumor.  However, all and all, everyone seems to be okay. 

Illness is a part of life and we all have to deal with it at some point in our lives.  Some of us will beat it and some of us will have to learn to live with it for the rest of our lives.  Cancer, Alzheimer's, and tumors are something that can be devastating to the patient because these illnesses are long and will involve a lot of doctors and hospital stays.  There's also the possibility of death with these illnesses which makes it difficult on the sufferer and the family, it's not fun... But I don't want you all to start feeling sorry for me-- that's not the reason for this entry.

What I want to do with this entry is to delve further into the subject of caregivers.  Caregivers come in many forms, and when you think about it, most of us have either already been one, or will be one in the future.  Moms and Dads are caregivers and people that are taking care of ill family members are caregivers too.  The Baby Bommers will need a lot of us to care for them once they hit their golden years-- whether they want us to or not.  Some of us who suffer from Fibro need a caregiver from time to time too, however, some of us with Fibromyalgia are caregivers to other people and this is the topic for today.

Caregiving is difficult.  It's no picnic.  A lot of friends of mine don't even know what I'm going through right now because I simply just don't have the time to call them and that's a sad reality for me.  My days are too chock filled with helping family members that I just haven't had the time to pick up a phone, and to them, I'm sorry for that.

Yes, some of you reading this could say, well, what's wrong with her friends?  Don't they have a dialing finger?  Yes, they sometimes do, but a lot of them are caregivers too and it's hard for them to call.  They have kids, and kids can take up a lot of your time.  I remember not being able to even look at a book with words until my oldest daughter was in school.  It's a reality.

Some of my friends with kids are also dealing with aging parents too, and this is where my blog is going.  It's hard to deal with aging parents or aging grandparents because you remember them like they were.  It's hard to see them discouraged and depressed.  It's hard to see them look at you with little clue as to who you are to them.  No picnic at the beach-- to say the least-- and you deserve a PAT on the back for doing it.

PAT is a mantra I've learned to love right now because, as you can imagine, my health is compromised every time I care for someone else and neglect my own needs.  It's something we all do, we all neglect ourselves, but we have to PAT at least once a week-- if not more!

PAT stands for Picking your battles, Anticipating problems, and Taking time out for yourself.

Picking your battles may seem like a no-brainer when it comes to a 2 year old, but what about an 89 year old adult that has Alzheimer's?  How do you pick you battles there?  You do very carefully.  Yes, they will forget you, and yes, they may even accuse of some things.  But what I find that works well the most is to go with the flow.  If they don't remember you as their daughter, but as their nurse, go with it.  If they are confused as to how to help you out with your caregiving for them, give them a task to do. 

Battles don't have to be won, they just have to be lived through as best as you can.  Don't over analyze what you say, just do what's needed as best as you can and move on.  It's all you can do at that moment in time and you can fix it later.  Remember that, you can always fix it later.

Anticipating problems can be a daunting tasks when it comes to little ones and the elderly.  Stairs are an obvious problem for both.  Just the other day I had to grab my daughter from my Grandfather because she was trying to pull him down the stairs for lunch time.  He was concerned for her safety on the stairs and almost took a fall for her. 

This can be a huge reality for anyone faced with caring for an young child and an Alzheimer's patient.  A gate may not help with the Alzheimer's patient, but it may help with your 2 year old.  I can't tell you what's best for your particular situation as far as your stairs are concerned, but I can tell you that it's much easier to anticipate what might happen rather than to react. 

Personally, I feel that a gate can be more of a reaction rather than a solution.  I by no means mean to tell to stop using them, but think about it, if there were a fire in your house, can you really get that gate up in time?  The same is true when your child is choking in a high chair.  Can you honestly say that you can get the tray and restraint off quick enough?

Child restraints are good.  They help us in life-- there is no doubt.  But common sense should prevail no matter what.  If your child is with an adult that may need help themselves, try to anticipate what might happen.  Does your child need a nap while you prepare lunch?  Let the child sleep in the arms of Grandpa if he can handle it.  There's no harm in that.

Taking time out for yourself can be a hard thing, but you have to do it.  You may not have time, you may feel guilty, but you HAVE to do it so you can be there for everyone that needs you.  Whether it's a shower, a crocheting fest, writing fest, or just plain watching tv, go ahead and do it for yourself to clear your head for another day.  PAT yourself!

Stay fabulous,
Love and friendship,


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