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Health Updates

An ongoing series of informational entries

Emotional Health of our Caregivers

October 2020

We are currently knee-deep in the flood of a pandemic. For many of us, the emotional toll has lessened to a steady stream of weariness. We want to know: When will this end? When can we go back to our normal lives?


Caregivers experience all the same feelings we do, however they not only fear for themselves, but also those people who they are devoted to caring for. Caregivers are often dedicating themselves to special needs children or adults, the elderly, or those with chronic illness. First responders and those in the healthcare field are also caregivers who can experience heightened anxiety, sadness or depression.


It is incredibly important to offer emotional support for those who nurture and care for others. Being “on” for 24/7 means it is vital that those who look after others make time for self-care.

If you are a caregiver, consider finding creative ways to take care of yourself. Practice mindfulness in small ways – taking a few minutes in the morning or before bed. Avoid missed opportunities, even five or ten minutes, during your daily routine to refuel and rejuvenate yourself. 


Below are a few resources to guide you in finding support for yourself while caring for others.


Caregiver’s Do’s and Don’ts

Do

  • Ask family and friends to help with caretaking needs
  • Practice relaxation strategies and mindfulness for mental/physical balance
  • Be aware of your feelings towards caretaking: feelings of guilt or excessive sadness could be an indication of being overwhelmed. Do not ignore this.
  • Eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly
  • Prioritize items and create a realistic schedule that includes self-care
  • Began or continue a hobby of interest
  • Look for resources to help with caretaking needs
  • Educate yourself on your care recipient’s disorder or disease

Don’t

  • Blame yourself
  • Isolate yourself from family and friends
  • Engage is excessive worry
  • Let your needs take a back seat to the needs of others in your care
  • Forget to appreciate the moments you are with your loved one
  • Ignore feelings of excessive sadness or anxiety

Depression versus Sadness

September 2020

Dealing with this pandemic has caused many people to face feelings of sadness that have grown into depression. How do you know if you are struggling with clinical depression or sadness? Here are a few behaviors to help you understand the differences.


One way to understand depression is if you have feelings of negativity that cannot be just wished away. If you are feeling sad, on the other hand, this an emotion which you can usually, and sometimes quickly, improve.


Sadness is commonly initiated by a trigger or an event, and once the event has passed, typically these feelings dissipate. You may speak with a friend to “vent” and this helps you feel less sad or, perhaps even happy.


Depression is deeper than just sadness. It is characterized through these symptoms: changes in sleep, increasingly depressed mood, a decrease in activity levels, difficulty concentrating, and fluctuations (lack of or increase) in appetite.


If you believe you may be suffering from depression (or someone you love), it is important to reach out for help. Think of depression the same way you would think of a medical condition in need of treatment. You would go to your doctor, talk about your symptoms and your doctor would subscribe you a course of treatment. With depression, it is often necessary to get the help of a psychologist and/or a psychiatrist to treat these symptoms effectively. Paying attention to mental health care is paramount to your overall wellbeing and you are worth it. 


If you need someone to talk to, please reach out.

Anxiety Is On The Rise: 4 Everyday Solutions To Take Control of Worry

August 2020

The continuous uncertainty of dealing with a pandemic has brought many changes to our occupations, social interactions, and family life. Six months ago we would have only seen this scenario in a science fiction movie. Before the pandemic, 1 in 15 people admitted to suffering from some form of anxiety. During recent months, reports of anxiety have increased to 1 in 4 people. A pretty remarkable jump in frequency, but the good news is there are ways to combat anxiety.


  1. It is short-lived. Remember that feelings of anxiety will pass. Try changing your environment by walking outside or talking to a friend. A good distraction is a great way to turn off anxiety symptoms.
  2. Chewing Gum Yes, that’s right chewing gum. Research studies suggest that subjects that chew gum have less cortisol in their saliva than those that do not. The jaw motion of chewing and attuning to taste is another great solution to decrease anxiety.
  3. Deep Breathing There is no substitute for controlled deep breathing. This can be done with slow and intentional breaths. Perform this by inhaling through the nose, hold for a count of 6 seconds, then slowing release the breath through your mouth
  4. Be Positive! Many of my clients do not realize that focus on negative thoughts which serve to increase anxiety. Filter out these thoughts and replace them with positive self- statements.