Self-Care 101

Like I wrote in here recently you have to expect that setbacks will happen. It’s not a matter of if but when you’ll experience a setback.

As this is true it’s imperative to adapt to the changes happening in your life. You need to be flexible and open to doing things differently.

Be flexible¬† while you’re experiencing the setback and in an ongoing way after the setback ends.

The point is if you ask me to change as you go along in your life.

Your needs will change as you get older.

It’s also critical to remember to be kind to yourself when you’re not at full speed and are unable to do what you were ordinarily able to do.

Be kind to yourself. As long as you’re doing the best you can there’s nothing to be upset about if you’re experiencing your own kind of retrograde period.

This setback time is perfect for editing and revising, taking stock of where you’ve been, thinking about where you want to go in the coming weeks and months.

We are all human. You and I might always mourn the passing of our “glory days” like the baseball pitcher in the Bruce Springsteen song “Glory Days.”

I’m here to tell you to have no fear: the best is always yet to be.

It’s possible to emerge on the other side of the setback stronger and more confident.

None of us can predict the specifics of our future lives.

Yet by taking consistent action to move forward in the direction of our goals we can bloom.

Yes: the best is yet to be. I firmly believe this.

Refrain from agonizing over what you’ve lost or haven’t been able to do.

As long as you wake up and God gave you another day it’s possible to make positive gains.

I’ll report in the next blog entry about setting up a home gym.

8 Tips for Caregivers

Though I had a breakdown when I was 22 years old my parents didn’t ever have to act as my caregivers.

By the time I was 25 I lived in my own studio and had a full-time job.

I’m 53 and act as my mother’s caregiver now. It’s as if I’ve become a mother to her after all the years she cared for me.

Acting as a caregiver you have to care for yourself at the same time.

Here are 8 Tips for Caregivers:

Eat healthful food.

In New York City you can order from FreshDirect to deliver food to your doorstep.

Kettlebell Kitchen offers nutritionist-created meal packages delivered to your door or to your gym in New York City.

PeaPod is available in other areas.

Have on hand in your family member’s kitchen a complement of take-out menus. Be able to order a pizza or Chinese food to be delivered in a pinch.

Have a laundry service pick up and deliver your laundry.

The items will be neatly folded yet often wrinkled. I simply live with the wrinkles because I don’t send out good shirts.

In New York City the tropical summer air itself can smooth out your clothes’ wrinkles by the time you reach your destination.

I’ve place wrinkled tee shirts in my closet in August. The shirts are wrinkle-free by the time I take them out to use courtesy of the internal humidity.

Hire a House Cleaner.

It’s worth it to free up your time and preserve your sanity.

I ordinarily dislike cleaning chores on a regular day so have a woman clean as often as possible.

Set up a home gym.

All you need is a kettlebell, a set of weights, and a foam roller.

You can type in the names of exercises on YouTube to watch videos on the kinds of moves you’ll be able to do at home.

Turn on music and pump up the volume as you break a sweat.

No need for a costly gym membership if you’d really rather not pay a monthly fee.

In a coming blog entry I’ll talk about how I use my living room as a gym.

Hire a Home Health Aide to come in once or twice a week.

For the things you can’t do or provide on your own hire trained help to come to your family member’s house or apartment.

They can cook, possibly clean, and do other things for your loved one once or twice a week or more often if needed.

Contribute money to a peace of mind or emergency fund.

This way if you have to take unpaid leave from your job you’ll have the cash to cover it.

In New York State workers are given 40 hours of paid time off each year to care for a sick family member.

Keep your cell phone powered up at all times.

For your own safety and the safety of your loved one.

Carry a spare cell phone charger with you in case the battery runs low.

Talk to a friend or a therapist for added support.

In New York City you can dial (888) NYC-WELL to talk with a peer or social worker who can give you information about mental health resources.


Returning to Life

I’ve been away insofar as I’ve had to act as my mother’s caregiver for over five weeks.

No mental health agency or organization is talking about how adult children diagnosed with schizophrenia are becoming caregivers for our parents.

In fact no one is talking about the graying of people with mental health conditions and our needs as older Americans.

Yet again I’m the only one talking about this topic.

Over five years ago at the HealthCentral website I wrote a news article about geriatric psychiatry.

Even then no one else was writing about these things.

In coming blog entries here I’m going to talk in detail about acting as a caregiver.

Someone has to write about this topic.

You owe your mother your life because she gave birth to you.

There’s no excuse for abusive parents.

Yet short of abuse you should do the right thing when your parents get older.