Archive | August 2015

The Plight of The Caregiver. And why self-care should be a caregiver’s priority

Healer's outstretched open hand surrounded by random wise healing words on a rustic stone effect background

“There are days I drop words of comfort on myself like falling leaves

and remember that it is enough to be taken care of by my self”

– Brian Andreas

Balancing Work and Live

Are you are in a position where another person’s wellbeing depends upon you? This might be your children, a sick or aging relative, your work or even just caring for your family. To be able to give adequate care for anyone in your sphere of influence, you must know how to take care of yourself first. If you are a mother with small children, or have a child with disabilities, or even an aged and infirm relative, how much time do you get for yourself? Are you aware of how you are really feeling? Or have your feelings and emotions been pushed into the background? Do you also work in any kind of professional capacity? Are you drawn from home and those you care for to also earn a wage? Yes? No?

Try the questions below

  • Do you make time for yourself?
  • What do you do in the time that is yours?
  • Do you ask for help when you need it?
  • Do you feel guilty that you are having time for yourself?
  • Do you have a support network?
  • How would you describe your coping skills?

These are really important questions to ask yourself because as a carer and provider of nourishment for yourself or others (whether it’s financial, emotional or spiritual), it’s all too easy to lose your identity. When this happens, when your own sense of self becomes unclear and your day has the sole purpose revolving around others, it is too easy for symptoms of anxiety, self-doubt, or unworthiness to start to show. Being over tired, not eating properly, having a poorly balanced day, ignoring or overriding your feelings, can lead to the slippery slope of anxiety or depression or illness.

So what are you going to do about it?

  • How can you change your life so that you can still care for others while looking after yourself?
  • How can you find time to work on your self-development?
  • You may make up excuses as to why you don’t have time but can you really afford not too?

Knowing the symptoms of anxiety and depression, and also knowing there is help available to you, is a step towards coping with and managing these conditions. Understanding your own mental, emotional and spiritual processes when under stress, or in crisis-mode, is also really important. In the healing process, acknowledging the individual, knowing that you need to work through each symptom thoroughly in order to bring about a healthy outcome will have you well on the way to having a balanced and positive out look life. These are tools, and once learned and understood can be added to your Toolkit.

Some Tips to Help with Self- care

  • Take care of yourself
  • Get regular exercise, gardening, walking, yoga or Tai Chi
  • Relaxation Meditation FREE e-course Learning to Meditate
  • Any thing that you love doing
  • Find a good listener
  • Seek professional help
  • Be kind to yourself
  • Do something just for you
  • Have your hair cut
  • Soak in the bath
  • Sit in the sun
  • Do nothing
  • Ask a friend to help
  • Never be afraid or ashamed to ask for help you are human not superhuman.
  • Talk to someone about how you are feeling, don’t bottle it up.
  • Meeting up with friends is vital
  • Keep up your interests to whatever extent you can.

In order for you to be of help to others you must come first.

A Note for Professional Carers

Working as a carer or nurse in any field, whether it be mental health, palliative care, aged care or intellectual disabilities, is very rewarding, but unless you are taking care of yourself you can so easily reach a stage of burnout. I cannot stress enough how important it is to take care of you. Skipping meals, working overtime, not enough sleep, no time for you, and stress levels too high are all too common in the caring industry. For our dedicated healthcare professionals I suggest the following:

  • Spend 5 minutes in the morning practising your breathing
  • Use your own personal relaxation techniques
  • In your break go for a walk
  • Make sure you eat a proper meal
  • Have a 20 minute nap
  • Drink lots of water
  • Do a short meditation
  • Personal Development
  • Take time out for yourself
  • Become responsible for your own health and wellness by creating an action plan
  • Listen to your body it will know what it needs

There is no shame in seeking help for yourself, in fact we should be doing it.

  • These things can make such a difference between having a healthy and balanced lifestyle and one that is teetering on the brink of illness. If you are on the ward there is often no time for a debrief when someone has passed away, or if you are dealing each day with someone dying, so how do you deal with the times when you need to take care of your other patients and their families?
  • When you are starting to feel overwhelmed, take a break, even if it is to go to the bathroom, or to get a drink of water. As I mentioned before, honour your feelings and thoughts, by ignoring them you will make yourself ill.
  • Know your limitations and vulnerabilities, as this will help you come up with coping strategies. If you need to have a cry, then go and have a cry.
  • Draw healing energy into your body and you do your breathing exercises, as this will allow your body to relax. Try not to take things personally.
  • Make time to see the unit manger and talk over your issues if you have any, or talk to a friend or seek professional help. Don’t always feel you need to do it on your own.
  • Use your affirmations, positive self-talk and allow yourself to grieve for your patients and their families.

  Carers you are a vital part of our caring environment—honour yourself and your work

Who cares for the carer? Unfortunately the answer to this question is no one. The only person, who can look after you, is you. When you do choose to take care of yourself, you will find, maybe to your own surprise, that there are people willing to help. Mentors, friends, a healthcare team, spiritual teachers, and whatever you require will be provided. All you need to do is speak up.

Carers are very special people so we need to help them take care of themselves.

Check out my FREE ONLINE MEDITAION COURSE and sign up for my newsletter.


“But ….I’m Grieving.” How to Begin to Care For Yourself While You’re Grieving

we grieve with hope

One of the biggest losses that we will experience is the death of a loved one. Bereavement grief is difficult to cope with, and we all experience it differently. It often shows up as a physical and psychological reaction to the changes that have been forced upon us in a significant and meaningful way

Grief diminishes with time. Sometimes the pain of grief can increase in the first few months after a death, as not only the reality of what has happened is sinking in, but the support structures that were initially in place starts to fall away. Grief is a journey, and it cannot be hurried. It demands patience, emotional energy and courage. You are starting a new phase in your life and adapting to new challenges but you must also find the reserves of strength to call upon hope, courage and faith.
We experience many things when grieving; both emotional and mental. We can be experiencing them all at the same time. Shock, pain, sadness, anger, guilt, anxiety, mental disorganisation and feeling overwhelmed, relief, and loneliness. This is normal when you are grieving.

Sometimes it may seem easier to avoid grief, as nobody really wants to have to have grief in his or her life, but it is a healthy part of living. When we try to avoid grief it doesn’t go away, it just becomes more overwhelming. The harder we try the worse it becomes.

A healthy way to grieve

Is having the ability to move between the challenges of what you may need to deal with; the pain and emotion, and the practical aspect of day to day living. It may seem impossible, but when you look at yourself, what you are feeling and analyse your reactions, sometimes a path of action and reaction becomes clear.

Some Symptoms of Grief

Grief is the reaction we have to losses of significance in our lives. This can include:

  • Loss of a pet
  • Loss of a job or employment
  • Loss of health
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Ending a relationship
  • Loss of plans, goals or a dream

One of the biggest losses that we will experience is the death of a loved one. Bereavement grief is difficult to cope with, and we all experience it differently. It often shows up as a physical and psychological reaction to the changes that have been forced upon us in a significant and meaningful way.

Grief symptoms can include:

  • Sadness, anger
  • Breathlessness, physical weakness
  • Confusion, crying, withdrawing from family and friends

How we experience grief, and for how long, depends upon many factors, such as how much the person meant to us, the role we played in caring for them, and how strongly we identified with their experiences.

What was our state of mind was like at the time? The state of our emotional, spiritual and physical wellness is also important. What other factors were happening in our lives at the time of their passing? It is not only a major loss in itself but it can often mean other losses as well such as:

  • Loss of income or financial security
  • Loss of routine, stability
  • Loss of future together
  • Loss of mutual friends
  • Loss of opportunities

Some key ideas to help with grief:

  • Take time for yourself each day
  • Keep a journal – it can help
  • Have a good cry it is part of the healing process
  • Avoid making any major decisions for at least a year
  • Take life one day at a time
  • Write a letter to the one you have lost can really help
  • Get help with financial matters
  • Find a good listener or grief counsellor
  • Take care of yourself
  • Get regular exercise with gardening, walking, yoga or Tai Chi
  • Relaxation Meditation
  • Keep up with your hobbies, passions, and anything you love doing
  • Create or continue a Grounded Spiritual Practice

I found for me when dealing with grief that the saying, ‘time heals’ is true. As time passes, you manage better.

My FREE Learning to meditation e-course

Counselling services Or +61422 142 729

The Top Three Stressors that almost everyone can get rid of

Our lives can be challenging and busy so anything that can reduce stress is beneficial to our healthy and wellbeing. I have included a few that I know have worked for me.

Morning routine

  • Set your clothes out the night before and make sure everything is set up for you to get ready in the morning. Prepare your breakfast if you can and don’t skip it, it really is the most important meal of the day.
  • Make the lunches for school or work the night before get your family to help.
  • A five- minute relaxation (breathing exercises sets you up for the day). Download my Free Meditation e-course com


Some tips on planning meals for the week and reducing stress

  1. Try and plan your weekly meals, as this also allows for a weekly shop and as you know what you’re having for each day there is then less stress.
  2. On Sunday nights or morning if you’re working nights spend some time working out the menu for the week.
  3. Place the menu on the fridge so you and the others in your house know what you’re having.
  4. Delegate some of the jobs. Peeling potatoes extra.
  5. Prepare ahead if you can. I know that there will be times when you are just too tired, but planning is the key to succeeding with being able to enjoy some healthy meals.
  6. Make lunch to take to work, it costs less and can be a lot healthier.

Check out my blog on 5 Tips to Creating a Healthy Work/Life Balance

Work practice

  • My work practice is:
  • Meditation as it brings me into balance and I can focus on my important tasks.
  • I have a sheet of paper where I write down my three most important tasks the things I need to get done that day.
  • I also use Todoist, which helps keep things on track.
  • Emails, respond to email immediately, when responding keep to five sentences or less. Delete those you don’t need and categorise the others to keep your inbox tidy.
  • I spend sometime in the morning checking social media then check later in the afternoon. I found I needed to be really disciplined in this otherwise I could have spent half the day on there.
  • Take your breaks, you do not do yourself any favours by not.

Leonie Dawson from Life & Soul Art & Biz has an awesome planner in her Life & Biz Workbook.

What is the difference between Depression and the Blues?


Over one million people in Australia live with depression. Over two million have anxiety disorder. How do you know if you have the blues or are suffering from depression?

The Blues

Everyone will experience the blues at some point in their lives. The feeling of sadness, grief, loneliness or lack of motivation when going through a difficult life experience is part of being human. They can often be helpful in a sense, life’s way of letting you know that something is amiss, which is your cue to either making changes in your life or stopping and facing issues that you might have been avoiding. Most of the time, you can continue to function normally and you know that you will bounce back, and you do. With depression that is not the case.

What is Depression?

Depression is a serious condition. While we have all felt sad and low in mood, from time to time you may experience these feelings very deeply and very profoundly, often without a reason. Have you ever found it difficult to function on a day-to-day basis? Have normal activities become increasingly more difficult to cope with?

Have you ever had trouble getting out of bed? This is more than just laziness; it’s a profound desire to have no interaction at all with the outside world. Activities that once you enjoyed are harder to take part in. Depression becomes a serious problem when the feelings persist.

How do you know if a person has depression?

If a person has been feeling sad, down or unhappy most of the time for more than two weeks or has lost interest in most of their activities.

Depression symptoms can include:

  • Not wanting to go out anymore
  • Withdrawing from close family and friends
  • Finding it difficult to concentrate
  • Feeling overwhelmed, irritable, unhappy, sad, tired all the time
  • Having negative thoughts i.e., ‘I’m a failure.’ ‘I’m worthless.’ ‘Life’s not worth living.’
  • Feeling sick and run down, not sleeping
  • Getting headaches and muscle pains, significant weight loss or gain

Some factors that may contribute to depression are:

  • A family history of depression
  • Hormonal changes
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Medication
  • Medical conditions
  • Abuse
  • Personality type
  • Loss of a job

Left untreated, depression can last for weeks, months or years. Early attention is important. It is a serious disorder, however, when treated properly you can hope to expect a full recovery. In some cases, antidepressant medication will be required in combination with personal development and the techniques that have been mentioned for anxiety and stress.

Depression is not something to take lightly, and can sometimes require immediate professional attention. Your mental health is too important to take lightly. As mentioned previously, it is important that you acknowledge all parts of yourself in order to heal. Use your self-care management techniques and if your feelings are still troubling you, then seek further help from your Doctor or another health professional about getting appropriate treatment.

You can find a Depression Checklist on Beyond Blue’s website.

Understanding the difference between feeling “blue” and being depressed can make a difference in the quality of life for an affected individual.  With proper treatment, depression can be managed, and individuals can live more enjoyable and productive lives.

Self-care management techniques

On the road to recovery

Making sure that you have me time is vitally important for your own mental, emotional spiritual and physical wellness. Your family and loved ones will benefit from you being well and happy. We can often be so caught up in making sure everyone else is looked after that we forget about the most important person. You. How can you care for someone else when your own happiness is not being taken care of? Here are a few quick suggestions for enhancing your mental and emotional wellness by doing every day ordinary things.

Some key ideas to help with Self Care:

  • Take time for yourself each day
  • Keep a journal – it can help
  • Have a good cry it is part of the healing process
  • Take life one day at a time
  • Get regular exercise with gardening, walking, yoga or Tai Chi
  • Relaxation Meditation can be found on my webpage
  • Keep up with your hobbies, passions, and anything you love doing
  • Lessen the amount of caffeine taken daily
  • Eat a healthy diet: three main meals a day, don’t just graze
  • Be kind to yourself
  • Do something just for you
  • Ask a friend to look after your children
  • Never be afraid or ashamed to ask for help you are human not superhuman
  • Talk to someone about how you are feeling, don’t bottle it up
  • Meeting up with friends is vital
  • Keep up your interests to whatever extent you can

There is no shame in having the blues or having depression. It is knowing that you can move on to living a happy and healthy life if you chose to.

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