Guest post by Harry Cline, creator of NewCaregiver.org
When David and I find great tips for patients and caregivers from other professionals, we love sharing them with you, our wonderful readers.
This article is a must read for new and seasoned caregivers. Please take this author’s great advice on self-care. Doing so will make a huge difference in the quality of your caregiving experience… and in your life.
And, here’s just one of the many nuggets from this article: “Take responsibility for your health and happiness and commit to being kind to yourself. If you feel selfish thinking of yourself, remember that the loved one you’re caring for wants to see you happy and balanced, not stressed, tired and overwhelmed. Practicing self-care is a kindness to them, as well.” – Harry Cline
Enjoy and don’t forget to leave a comment or ask a question.
As always, wishing you calm,
Tamara and David
Stress is killing us – it’s linked to the six major causes of death: cancer, lung ailments, heart disease, accidents, suicide and cirrhosis of the liver. And over 75 percent of all visits to the doctor’s office are for stress-related complaints and ailments.
What self-care solutions are available to reduce this harmful distress? Several easy and simple mindfulness meditation techniques can help. You can even do some standing in a checkout line, awaiting the doctor or while sitting in traffic. Along with yoga and repetitive prayer, mindful practices are known to evoke the “relaxation response”, which is the counterpart to the stress response. Meditators enjoy greater emotional clarity and mental resilience, and meditation can actually increase the amount of gray matter in your brain (which is a good thing!)
Is the waiting room stressing your patients and their families?
What if there’s an easy, cost-effective solution for transforming your wait area into a relaxing, restorative environment?
When I was diagnosed with stage IV cancer in 2013, my caregiving wife and I embarked on an oncological odyssey to dozens of medical facilities, doctor’s offices and hospitals. These appointments included stress-inducing scans, biopsies, consultations, radiation treatments, chemo infusions, follow-ups and surgeries. We spent a lot of time sitting in waiting rooms.
It was all too common to hear the TV emanating intense, dramatic bulletins with banners flashing, “News Alert!” Or, we’d hear chatty talk shows and rowdy game shows with strident voices, buzzers, canned laughter and applause. Unless the staff turned down the volume or changed the channel, there was no relief from the intrusive programs. In one major hospital, an oncologist admitted he had no control over the intense shows on the waiting room TV because the staff behind the counter controlled the programs, tuning to the channels they wanted to watch.
DECISIVE DOCTOR VISIT
About a year after my initial diagnosis of stage IV head and neck cancer, I had a follow-up visit with my oncologist Dr. C. After my vitals were taken and blood drawn, we had a brief wait in the bleak exam room. Then Dr. C. entered, greeting in his usual style, “How are you, David! You look great!”
During this exam, Dr. C. announced that my scans were clear and I was now officially cancer-free. He commented, “That was not an easy regimen (chemo, radiation and surgery) you just had, but you did phenomenally well!” He asked if there was actually something I did which helped me get through treatment in such good emotional and physical shape. I replied that I’d used a mindful wellness practice, listening to programs at the infusion center. His eyes lit up as he suddenly proclaimed, “That’s what I want for all of my patients!” He desired a way his patients could become calm before their exams or treatments.