Today we would like to thank CranioRehab for placing an advertisement in our most recent newsletter. This newsletter is vital in sharing the impactful stories from our community. New and existing families within our community are very grateful for your help in keeping this program alive. It is a lifeline for all, letting them know they are not alone. We cannot think of a more important message than that one especially during a time when we are being told to stay socially distant from others.
To get a sense of the type of stories we tell in our newsletter, an article on Tips For Caregivers appears below for your enjoyment. A typescript version can be found below the images to make these stories accessible to all.
Read our whole E-Newsletter by clicking here.
Self Care for Caregivers
What a year! Let’s all take a breath. ::In and out:: Ahh!
2020 has been one for the books with regard to anxiety and depression. Many are self-medicating with food, substances, and other guilty pleasures. Some of us are wearing pajamas 24/7, while others are making risky decisions just to be out, in person, with people!
We are all doing our very best under pandemic-level circumstances, but everyone has a limit, so we need to be prepared when we hit ours and know how to rest and recharge.
The caregivers, whom we celebrate during the month of November, hold the weight of this additional stress. Our Moms, Dads, Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents, and Guardians are experiencing some serious distress with surgeries canceled, therapies postponed, taking on the role of teacher, and finding innovative ways to connect with the host of specialists our CCA Kids need to thrive. The once mundane trips to the pharmacy and grocery store have become wrought with fear of exposure to the coronavirus, or at the very least a new host of additional inconveniences.
So, to find some “COVID Silver Linings,” how can caregivers practice self-care when there is no time for it?
I am here to tell you there is hope. I am here to tell you that in the words of graphic artist and Loneliness Project contributor Sanna Legan “There is no survival guide, we are all doing our best.” Your best may not be perfect, but rest assured it is perfect for this moment in time.
Here are a few suggestions to help you manage your anxiety and stress
Follow the Acronym TIP
My first suggestion is easy to remember with the acronym TIP. It may become the most useful tip of all.
T - “T” is for Temperature. Activate your body’s dive response to calm your nervous system. Place a cold ice pack around both of your eyes, or stick your face in an ice water bath for 15-30 seconds. This act will stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system. Feel the extra, short breathe come quickly after a deep inhalation. A true shock to your system, but in the best possible way.
I - If you are not keen on cold temperatures for a hard reset, you can try this next part of “TIP” The “I” stands for intense physical exercise. Run up and down the stairs, drop and give me 20 burpees, or do some short burst of activity that will get your heart rate up above its normal rate. Increasing your heart rate will result in stress reduction.
P -”P” is for Progressive Muscle Relaxation. This final part of the TIP helps us remember that the meditative practice of the body scan while tensing and relaxing the muscles one body part at a time can be helpful in pursuit of calm. Find great meditations that include progressive muscle relaxation here on Youtube.
Do You Breathe Right?
No, not those nose strips snorers wear at slumber parties... I am asking do you breathe properly from the diaphragm, or the belly area? You will note when you are sleeping that your belly rises and falls first, then your chest. This is proper breathing technique. Breathing through the nose has added benefits. You can add that in when you conquer diaphragmatic breathing. Breathe slowly and deeply, lengthening the exhale as much as possible. The key is the lengthy exhale. Really take it slow to calm your body down.
Press Your Off Switch
Finally, this last one is a new personal favorite. I learned about it this year and have been using it often. Grab one of your feet and find the center of the sole of your foot. There is a flat, muscle right in the center. You will know you found it when the skin and muscle feels as if it is pushing back at you. Press as hard as you can, breathe deeply. Notice and wait for one more sip of air to come just after you breathe. The center of your foot will help to calm your entire nervous system.
These are my suggestions for managing your anxiety, stress, and worry as we move forward into these winter months. Watch the CCA Kids blog spot where I will share more ideas.