With PURPLE DAY coming up on March 26th, I want to yap about a serious topic, ‘Self Compassion’ & ‘Caregiver’s Stress Syndrome’. Much of Purple Day’s focus is on the Epilepsy Warriors, those of us who have or are living with epilepsy & the ongoing fight for awareness & research. But what about our wagnificent caregivers like you or my huMom. Who is caring for you? Are you? Pawsactly, that’s why we need this dogscussion.
If you are shaking your head & asking what is ‘caregiver stress syndrome’? It’s a condition characterized by physical, mental & emotional exhaustion. Typically, it results from a pawson neglecting their own physical & emotional health because they are focused on caring for an ill, injured or disabled loved one be they 2 legged or 4 legged. This often ignored but pawsitively serious condition can not only impact the mood of the caregiver, but their long-term health & wellness. Depression & mental health problems are higher among caregivers than among those who are not caregiving.
Symptoms of caregiver stress may include changes in appetite, weight or both; feelings of sadness, hopelessness, irritability, or helplessness. Withdrawal from furiends & furmily; changes in sleep patterns; & getting sick more often are symptoms of caregiver stress. If you find yourself dogsplaying any of these symptoms (symptoms are not limited to what I have pawed on), you are not alone. And, remember, just because you felt a feeling only means that, & feelings are made from thoughts that are shaped by our subconscious & physical environment. If we are consistently running on empty & reactive mode long term, those thoughts are generally harmful. It only points to the fact you have ignored you & you need care, love, nutrients, sleep & most of all self compassion.
While caregiver stress syndrome can have a negative impact on your life & well-being, there are ways to recover & to be a happier, healthier caregiver for your loved one be it 4 legged or 2 legged.
Taking time for yourself & focusing on your own needs, can help you avoid the dangers of caregiver stress syndrome.
Ask for help. If like huMom has in the past, believe that you can handle it all by yourself, the reality is that nobody can. Another thing to remember is those that help, really want to & helping you makes them happy.
Talk to someone, may it be a close furiend, furmily member, pawfessional or community support group; it makes a world of difference for both you & the one you care for. Sometimes the answers are right there but we are looking with one pawspective ignoring all the pawsibilities. When we share those pawsibilities are available to us.
Express your thoughts & feelings. Journaling is a wagnificent tool for expressing oneself. HuMom has said that writing down thoughts can help us let go of the stories we have written behind them. They are simply thoughts that drift into our heads & then float away in the ink of her pen. As the saying goes, write like no one is reading.
Mindful Prayer &/ Meditation can set the tone for a “better day” & reduce our stress. Taking space for yourself will help keep you grounded & peaceful while allowing you to be of service to your loved one & yourself. Mindfulness changes with practice. A period as little as a week can begin to show pawsitive results. HuMom said at first she felt like a poser but with time she no longer felt that way. She found herself fully enjoying the insight, the peace, the gratitude & acceptance that came with practice but still had reminded herself often, ‘This is practice, I am not perfect’.
2 Mindfulness Exercises for You:
Take A Breath I know, you’re thinking I breath every second of every minute. This breathing is mindful breathing. Mindful breathing asks that you spend a few minutes sitting with your breath, this will relax you. Take 5 minutes to sit down, breathe deeply, feel your lungs fill with air, let it go easily, & repeat. Just place your attention on how it feels to inhale fully & release the breath fully. This pawvides you with more oxygen running through your body which will help you to relax. There are many different breath exercises out there but for now just focus on your natural breath & become familiar with that. Puppy paws first.
Gratitude List Writing a gratitude list is a pawerful way to reinforce the pawsitive pawts of your day & can pawvides a reassuring read when you are faced with a pawticularly challenging situation. Meditating & or praying with the focus on gratitude is also a wooftastic way to be both mindful & pawsitive. This practice will be easier & stronger with time, I pawmise.
Take the path to a more self compassionate you. Paw here for a pawsome yet simple guided 6 minute Loving Kindness Meditation facilitated by Insight Timer teacher Larrisa Hall Carlson. Insight Timer is a pawtacular free app available to both android & apple devices.
If you are looking to dig a little deeper Tara Brach leads an 11:30 minute guided mediation; The RAIN of Self Compassion. RAIN is an acronym for for a 4-pawt mindful pawcess: recognize, allow, investigate & nurture.
If you take anything from today’s yap, pawlease may it be that, ‘Caregiving starts with self compassion. The more you have for yourself the more you have for others’. 💜nose nudges💜
CEO Olivia 💜
💜 Remember, if you have a question we love to pawvide you with answers. Reach out to us here, through Instagram, Facebook, email or call us. If you don’t have long distance calling contact us online & let us call you. Have a pawsome week, CEO Olivia, Dot & Jerry Underfoot
💜 PS 🐾 Looking for wagnifient healthy & furbulously fun toys or pawsibly a supplement for the well being of your pawtacular good dog or cat? Shop Naturally
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