Life O’Life (Holidays are Done)

The last of the holiday guests left this morning; now it’s time to take back the house. It is time to clean, plan, purge and organize, but first I will listen to the calm and quiet of the house. Sit in my comfortable chair in my bear feet and enjoy the fireplace my husband built for me for my Christmas gift and have a sip of alcohol-free champagne… a sip, a sip? Who am I kidding; I’m gonna drink the entire bottle!

Self-care

Cheers to self-care and to you.

Happy New Year!

from

Faith, Life and Music Magazine

Life O’Life (Holiday)

Vegetable StewTime is flying by faster as the holiday gets closer. If you are a caregiver; you may already feel as if you’re behind. I feel the same; since I will cook this year and continue to caregive for my mother and brother; balance is so important.

If you’re entertaining and are starting to get phone calls, texts or emails regarding different diets. There is still time to change the feast to a potluck. Have each person who may be on a special diet to bring a dish for themselves and enough to share. It will give them an opportunity to show off their cooking skills and share with the family why they chose the diet or if the diet chose them during the meal. Make a game of it by having note cards. That should free up your time in the kitchen and give you the opportunity to not only host, but be a guest at the gathering. After all “many hands make light work.” I used to hate when my mother would say that; now I understand.

You may not have time to put a soundtrack together and you’re not sure if you’re ready to let sonny boy or girl DJ the gathering. Try Napster or Pandora they have tons of songs that should get you through the feast. #not sponsored. It worked for us last year; hopefully, it will work for you and your family.

Have a good Wednesday my friend!

 

Life O’Life The Joy of Naps

I don’t know what it is about naps, but I freaking love them! They are the best on a cold rainy day, the best on a cold snowy day, the best on a warm summer day, the best during the fall and spring. I feel restored after a good nap. The king of all naps is on Sundays after I get home from the studio and church. If there is a game on that I’m not too invested in; it lulls me into the sweetest sleep ever in life. I don’t like it when my nap is disturbed. If the house, husband or dog are not on fire do not wake me up; it’s Sunday nap time for goodness sake.

Here are a few things to get you ready for a good nap as demonstrated by our dog Elly.

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Elly’s Jedi napping pose

Find a space that’s all yours; you might have to slightly mark your territory, but that’s a part of life. “You cannot not make an omelette without breaking eggs; any good cook will tell you that.” ~Colonel Mustard, Clue

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Have a little snack; you don’t want to sleep on an empty stomach. Oh, keep some water near just in case you get thirsty.

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Gotta stay hydrated

Then let’er rip! There is nothing as sweet as a good nap.

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Beyond REM Stage

Do you feel the same as we do about naps? I’d love to know.

Life O’Life

Mom and the Girls

20181010_154001Mom had her regular appointment with her doctor last Friday. I was communicating with her doctor through emails about any tests and the flu shot she need to take. He asked me when her last mammogram was; I couldn’t answer that question.  So, I asked my mother; she said she couldn’t remember. Needless to say she needed to get it done as soon as possible.

When we were in the exam; her doctor said they searched her records and couldn’t find any prior exams. I was scared and slightly angry; before I began caregiving for my mom; she could go to the doctor any time she wanted, but apparently she hasn’t had a mammogram. I asked her doctor if she could go that day. He agreed made some calls and we were in the imaging center within minutes. She didn’t want to go, but we told her she didn’t have a choice especially since her maternal grandmother had breast cancer that was caught in enough time; it resulted in a mastectomy, but she lived the rest of her life cancer-free to almost 100 years old.

I received an email today; they found something in both of my mom’s breasts. We have to schedule another more extensive exam. I will talk to her doctor this week so we can get the re-examination and talk about options. This is real; do not skip breast exams. If you cannot remember the last time you had a mammogram—it’s time to get one. If your mother, sister and friend cannot remember they need to go as well.

Speaking of going; I had mine last year and it’s time for another one. When was your last exam? I’d love to know.

Life O’Life (Finding Space)

Chair
I’m an avid reader; I enjoy sitting in my big comfy chair zoning out with a book at the end of day.

Finding Space

Last year when my husband and I were on a quest to downsize to a smaller place in hopes of simplifying our lives; we searched and found the small place of our dreams. We were ready!

As it turns out we were not ready! Not even close to ready. We gave away a lot of things and donated a lot, but we had more than what our new place could hold. We got rid of more stuff and just decided to roll with whatever.

We have learned a lot about our place. The best thing about our place; we no longer share a closet. He can have his and I can have mine. We settled on the layout for the living room and had no choice for the dining room and zero (to me) space in the kitchen. Then there’s the spare bedroom. I thought it would act as a multi-function room. It could change into a guest room for guests, home office for office work, space for my treadmill and my big comfy chair for reading.

We put the bed in there and that pretty much ate up all the space in the room. We managed to cram a few more things in the room, but yeah, we will count that one as a loss as well. That meant that my big chair had no place to go; a few days ago my husband told me he was getting rid of my chair. I had to think and think quickly! So, I created a reading nook inside my closet. I didn’t tell him my plan in advance (ladies we all know why). I waited until the time was right for him to move my chair into place. He thought I was crazy and still does, but that’s okay. My big comfy chair and I are doing just fine in our space.

Where is your personal creative chill space?

Life O’Life

Thinking

Caregiving and the Anger Dilemma

It’s okay. Listen you are human; you have a lot on your plate taking care of someone else or sometimes two family members. You are running around picking up prescriptions, buying their groceries, reading mail, paying their bills, organizing their prescriptions, making sure they take the medicine, cook, clean the house and sometimes clean the family member.

It can get overwhelming and depressing especially when you have to go home and make sure your own house is in order. The loss of your personal time and basic rest can cause anyone to lose-their-cool. There are no secrets to avoiding anger while caregiving. The thing is; you don’t want to end up repeating the cycle that’s not good for you physically or your family member(s).

When you get angry; ask yourself why am I angry? If something is not working; take a step back to see how it can work better for you (the caregiver) and how it can benefit the family member.

If you’re feeling angry from being overworked; ask for help. I know I sound like a broken record, but there is nothing wrong with asking for help. You are one-person; get over the superhero complex; know your caregiving kryptonite and learn to take a break.

Taking a break from caregiving is not a sin. It doesn’t mean you don’t care about the family member or members. You will be surprised how much better your mind will work when you look at the problem from a different angle.

What ways have you discovered that helped you to deal with the caregiving anger dilemma? Let me know in the comment box.

 

Life O’Life

There is no denying it any longer. Now that summer is over; school, home and work lives are in full-swing. Some mornings run smoother than others; whether you are a family or single. Everyone has struggle mornings. Here’s a quick way to get fed and out the door.

Quick Breakfast Idea
Cereal in Jars!

You already have everything you need. Here’s how to prep:

  1. Assorted cereals
  2. Clean Mason jars.

Typically, Sunday night prep for the week works well for my house. Once the kitchen is clean; get out the different cereals and Mason jars. Fill the jars with the different cereals and before you know it breakfast is prepped and ready for the week. All you need to do is to add milk, spoons or bowls.

Feeling fancy? Let’s amp it up a bit if you or someone in your family has more time to eat add a quick piece of toast and fruit.

The thing I love most about this idea is that it seems crazy, but it works. Go ahead give it a try and let me know how it works out for you and your family’s busy mornings.

Life O’Life

Let’s Talk About It…

Sex, Intimacy and the Caregiver

David WendyYou knew it was coming (no pun intended). Let’s dive in: when you are a caregiver of a family member or members wanting to be intimate with your mate is the last thing on your mind.

A majority of the time the caregiver is thinking “please, Lord, not tonight; I just want to shower and go to sleep.” Although, the caregiver may not say it verbally to his or her mate the sentiment is there, but the mind is not connected in that area enough to allow the caregiver to want physical intimacy.

How can you clear your mind over things like their medicines, their appointments, their insurance battles, their needs, their needs and their needs? It is draining and if you’re not careful it can and will drain your desire because let’s face it; as a caregiver you see too much and the last thing you want to see at the end of the day is another one.

Here’s my advice to bring intimacy back into your life. When you go home; you are home. That’s your time to do whatever you want to do with your life. Turn the caregiver switch off. It may seem difficult in the beginning, but the more you practice the better you will become turning off the switch.

  1. Take a bath or shower to wash away the day
  2. Brush your teeth it seems silly, but you will be surprised how your mood lifts as well as your confidence
  3. Make the bed
  4. Put on some nice music
  5. Go fancy with the meal even if it’s take-out serve it just as if you made it yourself
  6. Sit with your mate; have a conversation (nothing serious, just carefree banter)
  7. Flirt with your mate during the meal
  8. Give your mate hugs and gentle kisses on the cheek and neck
  9. Sit on the sofa and watch television while holding hands

Finally, go for broke! Tell your mate that you’re still in love and want to make love! Even if you don’t feel like it; fake it until to make it!

Life O’Life! Caregiving

Let’s Talk About It

All too often when caring for a family member or members. The caregiver will put their personal needs aside; they tend to skip doctor appointments in favor of taking the person they are caring for to their doctor appointment. The caregiver will opt out of getting their hair or nails done, spending time with friends over a meal, taking a leisurely bath, having intimate time with his or her spouse, or something as simple as reading a book; because they feel guilty and worry about outside judgement from other family members.

This is wrong and will ultimately result in the caregiver feeling like a overworked overwhelmed martyr. Feelings of resentment will happen followed by feelings of guilt. This is a rough cycle to break once it starts. Often, it happens at a slow pace; the caregiver doesn’t realize what is happening or does know what is happening, but chooses to brush it off until it is almost too late. Once the caregiver is near mental and physical burnout its tough trying to find the strength to continue.

This is why all caregivers must take time for themselves. The saying is true; “you have to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you can help those next to you.”

When I first began caring for my mother and brother; I was told repeatedly; “take time for yourself; if you don’t; you will burnout.” I didn’t believe the warnings and I refused to listen to my own body. I was determined to give my mother and brother the best care to make sure they stayed together that there was no way I could ever burnout; after all; my undying love for them was enough to keep me going forever—talk about lying to myself in grand proportions! Love had nothing to do with it! It wasn’t until I woke up in the emergency room with heart failure that I realized it was true. I didn’t take care of myself. I found myself not being able to take care of them. What did I do?

More next time…