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Caregivers Need to Care for Themselves, Too

Here are some tips from Dr. Stacy to help caregivers give their best while also taking care of themselves.

Guest Post by Alexis Hall, Image via Pexels

If you’re a family caregiver or informal caregiver, you know the role can be intense. You may be working, caring for a loved one, and giving attention to children and other family members. It can be hard to care for an individual with cognitive decline or whose health status may change daily. Unlike paid caregivers, your duties may include personal care, meal prep, and housekeeping. Change is constant and stressful, so self-care is vital for caregivers. 

Caregivers Often Neglect Their Own Needs

The age range for caregivers is 45 to 64 years old, so many are also working and raising children. Multiple obligations can cause caregivers to neglect personal health. They don’t have time to keep medical appointments or exercise regularly. They may have given up on socializing. Unpaid caregivers often experience poor health and are also at increased risk fordepression. As a caregiver, it’s essential you adopt behaviors to protect your health and well-being.

Make Personal Health Care a Priority

A caregiver who fails to keep health care appointments may develop conditions that endanger their health. The stress of going in many directions can lead to hypertension, a silent killer. Untreated hypertension or high blood pressure can lead to heart disease, stroke, and kidney damage. The only way caregivers can know whether they have health issues is to visit a health care provider regularly for checkups.

Choose Healthy Foods

Caregivers typically ensure those around them are well-fed, but they frequently eat hurriedly or miss meals. Eating healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains, supplies the body with the energy and nutrients needed to function and fight disease. Keeping nutritious snacks on hand, drinking lots of water, and preparing foods like soups and stews in advance can make it easier to eat well and also offer more time to enjoy food and conversation with your loved one.

Find Time to Move

Exercise is planned physical activities that help an individual reach a fitness goal. Physical activity includes unplanned activities that promote health and fitness. It can be challenging to get to a fitness center several days each week, but there are alternatives. Digging weeds from a garden, washing a car, and walking the dog are other ways to be active. When approached vigorously, these activities burn calories and fat while strengthening joints and muscles. Taking a walk with a friend or neighbor is an excellent way to get a workout, relieve stress, socialize, and avoid isolation.

Track Your Movement

A fitness tracker or smartwatch makes it easy to keep up your exercise or physical activity efforts. You can track your heart rate during workouts, as well as calories burned, and set goals to help you get the most of your physical activity. Maintain your smartwatch by replacing the band, and add a screen protector to keep it easy to read and unblemished.

A Healthy Caregiver Is a Better Caregiver

Becoming a healthier caregiver will benefit not only you but also your loved one. Be a better caregiver by taking care of yourself first. Remember: like your clients, you deserve to live your best life.

Dr. Stacy is a licensed psychologist, licensed addiction counselor, certified personal trainer, and certified nutrition coach. Please reach out to request an appointment at Studio B.

Try These Simple Practices to Prevent Anxiety Attacks

If you deal with anxiety attacks, you know how distressing and stressful they can be.

Guest Post by: Emma Grace Brown, Image via Rawpixel

Anxiety is your body’s way of responding to stressful situations, and a healthy amount of it can provide you with extra energy and focus on overcoming challenges.

But when your anxiety reaches unhealthy levels, and it begins to disrupt your life, it’s time to figure out how to bring it under control.

Fortunately, there are many practical methods to keep anxiety at bay and reduce stress. From therapy self-study at home workbooks to diet and exercise, try these tips from Stacy Reuille-Dupont to prevent future anxiety attacks:

Change Jobs         

Sometimes anxiety is rooted in or triggered by a career path that no longer fits your life. Whether you have changed, the job has changed, or a good thing just needs to come to an end, sometimes you need to move on. Evaluate your career path to determine if it still accommodates you. If not, be bold and make the change to find something more enjoyable. 

If you find your current career is not the right fit and is triggering anxiety, then consider going to school and getting on track for a career that will suit you better. Online schooling is more accessible and flexible than ever in the digital age. While still working your current job (keeping a steady paycheck) and managing your responsibilities, you can attend online courses. 

If you already have your bachelor’s degree, you can go back to earn a master’s in fields like education, business, or criminal justice. If you don’t have your bachelor’s degree yet, you could achieve one in anything from health care to technology.

Try Breathing Exercises

Anxiety can cause every muscle in your body to tense up. It also impacts every organ, your mood, and your energy levels. Breathing exercises are proven to lessen not only the symptoms associated with anxiety but also to alleviate or altogether eliminate anxiety attacks. 

Try different breathing exercises until you find one you like (e.g., belly breathing, box breathing, alternating nasal and mouth breathing, 4-7-8 breathing, etc.). And use the techniques whenever anxiety washes over you.

Steer Clear of Substances

While things like breathing exercises and life changes can improve anxiety, triggers make it worse. Anything that alters your brain can exacerbate anxiety. Whether we are talking sugar, alcohol, caffeine, or cigarettes. Not all bodies are the same, so not everything will affect you. Steer clear of anything you notice that worsens your anxiety and find healthy alternatives when possible.

Eat Well and Exercise     

Your body and your mind are intrinsically intertwined. When you take care of your physical health, you will naturally see improvements in your mental and emotional health. For some people, their anxiety can be kept entirely at bay by maintaining a good diet and exercise routine. For others, it can help manage or lessen the impact of anxiety. 

Eat healthy, balanced meals consisting of proteins, fruits, vegetables, and seeds. And try to move your body every day and make it a fitness routine that brings you joy. You may have to try a few different exercises until you find the right fit. 

Lean on Others

Community is essential to human nature. Resist the urge to battle the mountain of anxiety alone. Include your friends, family, and professionals like Stacy Reuille-Dupont in your journey towards overcoming this obstacle. Reach out when you need support. You’re not alone.

When anxiety controls significant portions of your life, it’s time to make some changes. Consider the tips above to keep your anxiety levels within a healthy range and prevent future attacks.

You might be surprised by how a simple modification to your daily routine can make such a lasting impact on your overall health and wellbeing!

Would you like to read more helpful content or learn about my psychology, addiction counseling, and personal training services? Visit StacyReuille.com to find out how to work with Stacy today!

Good Morning 2022! What will you create this year? How to keep your Focus and Build the Life You Want. 

I love this day. It’s often the only day I allow myself to wear my pajamas all day and do nothing … or not.

For some reason on the 1st day of the year I have a lot more grace with myself.

This year I’m going to create more bliss and balance in my life. I’m going to take the grace I often give myself on the 1st day of the year and extend that into other days sprinkled throughout.

Living a life with meaning has a lot to do with the ability to balance your priorities and joy. In the clinic we see so many people who are sad or angry because their lives lack purpose and meaning.

Here’s 3 tips on how to stay focused and crush your 2022 goals.

Photo Credit: Photo by Marisol Benitez on Unsplash

On New Year’s Day most of us figure out some resolutions – changes we want to make and things we want to let go of. Then we get busy hyper-focusing on them. 

My time managing fitness centers taught me that by Feb 14th we would have enough towels, lockers, and parking spaces again. People burned out on their focus and quit those new years’s goals within 6 weeks of making them. 

READ MORE ON THE BLOG: 

Healthy Eating Made Easy

3 Ways to Bring Joy to Your Fitness. Fitness is a Feeling

Ground Hog Day in Your Life? The pain of staying the same or the pain of change? 7 Steps to master moving your life forward for the better.

Over the years, I learned a few things to make sure that burned out shooting star is not what I do:

1st – Sustainable change happens in small steps. Research shows solid consistent change in about 10% increments is the most predictable sign that someone will really shift their lifestyle. Sometimes it is hard to get started you can sign up with a coach, online program, or even do therapy focused activities at home.

2nd – Tracking works. I can hear your groans. Many of my clients are very audible when I bring this up. However, again research shows us that by just tracking your current behavior you will change it. Begin just counting how many times / day you do X behavior. 

It can be one you want to let go of or one you want to increase. Just becoming aware of what you are currently doing and why (triggers for that behavior) will shift your consciousness around it.

Consciousness is the first step to change. 

3rd – Be compassionate, toward yourself and others. You know I love this statement … research shows … compassion is a bigger driver of successful change than castigation.

However, many of us were taught to use shame and punishment to impact someone’s (including our own) behaviors. 

The reality is, it just doesn’t work as well as kindness and love

Find that place of feeling content and appreciated for what you have accomplished thus far, even if you feel that’s only .1% of your life. It’s from this place of feeling cherished that you will make the most progress toward your goals. 

As we turn the corner on another year, enjoy your day, your people, and whatever activities you  have planned to being the new year. 

Here’s to a healthier you in 2022! 

3 Ways to Bring Joy to Your Fitness. Fitness is a Feeling.

What does it mean to be fit? For many of us we automatically imagine particular body weight, maybe a blood pressure, or how our body responds to sugar. Lots of us go right to what we look like or how physical systems work.

But in reality how fit we really are is a feeling. Yes the physical body is an important part of tracking fitness, but how fit we feel is about a feeling.

Photo Credit: Photo by Andreea Boncota on Unsplash

Article By: Stacy Reuille-Dupont, PhD, LAC, CPFT, CNC

Healthy looks different on every body. There are a number of markers we can use to measure somebody’s fitness. These markers help us see where the physical body is and what the physical body is doing. But the physical body is the past, it is what has happened to us. It is what we have done to ourselves in the past.

The physical body shows us where our habits have been. Maybe we’ve been overeating for a while or sitting on the couch watching a lot of TV. We might be having aches and pains from a lack of movement or high inflammation due to the food we choose to consume (Yanmei, Zhihua, Li, et. al, 2021).These habit patterns show up in the physical body and cloud our mental body.

Real fitness starts in our minds (LINK HERE). It is a goal we set. It is a mindset long before it is ever a physical reality. If we truly want to be fit we must work on feeling fit first.

Here’s what feeling fit really looks like. A fit person feels strong, capable, and able. They know they can lift a particular amount, can walk or run far enough, can successfully address difficult conversations, hold and set boundaries, and they are always working to get a better PR goal whether that be in the gym, boardroom, or their household. They know they are strong enough to tackle challenges and accomplish goals they’ve set for themselves.

A fit person understands balance. It is not about going harder, longer, faster all the time. There is no fitness if you overtrain. You may have a good physique on the outside but your body will be breaking down on the inside. 

This condition will not allow the body to push to the highest levels. Eventually you will have to stop training. Without appropriate recovery body tissues will not be able to maintain high levels of achievement overtime. There goes the vanity. Without continuous workouts you cannot maintain sculpted body parts. You need balance to continue to pursue your workouts and mental A game. 

To truly be fit you must have balance in your routines. You must have time for rest, work, and time for play. If you do not have the right balance of work you will be doing the wrong exercises at the wrong intensities with the wrong timing. On one hand just moving is good, but if you truly want to be fit there’s a method to the madness. 

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If you do not schedule time for play, workouts get pretty bland and boring fast. The same routine day in and day out becomes lackluster and uninteresting. When this happens your workout will suffer because a focused and engaged mentality is missing.

To truly be a fit person you must also feel creative. It takes creativity to show up day after day doing what is needed to create fitness levels you want. It takes creativity to continue to adapt your goals, pivot your failures, and succeed. If you do not feel creative you might need to hire a coach (ADD LINK) to help you maintain an inspired perspective. If you are living uninspired it won’t take long for you to quit whatever it is you are trying to build. 

To truly live well we must live inspired. Being inspired brings us to the place of motivation and motivation brings us to goal completion (Thrash, Oleynick, & Maruskin, 2014). Without motivation it’s hard to get out of bed day after day, do the same routines over and over, slowly making changes needed to truly impact our physical fitness.

So if you want to be fit, you must first feel it. You must feel strong, balanced, and creative in your whole being. Fitness is a feeling first then it becomes reality in our physical form. 

Today take stock of your current fitness goals, routines, and mental game. Determine if you are setting up your training priorities from a place of feeling full and joyful or a place of constriction and rigidity. 

If it’s the latter it’s time to revamp your plan. Get back to feeling your commitment to your fitness and create your health from the inside out.

References:

Thrash, Moldovan, E. G., Oleynick, V. C., & Maruskin, L. A. (2014). The Psychology of Inspiration. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 8(9), 495–510. https://doi.org/10.1111/spc3.12127

Yanmei Ma, Zhihua Yin, Li Li, Bingni Chen, Hanying Dai, Dandan Wu, Junxiao Cong, liang Ye, Chenghui Liao, Lingyun Li, Zhizhong Ye, Zhong Huang. (2021). Food antigens exacerbate intestinal damage and inflammation following the disruption of the mucosal barrier, International Immunopharmacology, Volume 96(107670), ISSN 1567-5769, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.intimp.2021.107670.


Stacy Reuille-Dupont, PhD, LAC, CPFT, CNC, licensed psychologist, addiction counselor, personal trainer and nutrition coach. She’s passionate about helping people create a vibrant life using psychology and physiology. With over 25 years coaching people to be their best, she understands how to find adventure and bliss with balance. Book a FREE 15 minute consultation at www.studiob.life or join her monthly Q&A group at www.stacyreuille.com 

How You Can Heal Your Stomach Naturally

Unfortunately, there are plenty of digestive ailments that can affect our lives. They can make eating painful and difficult and add complications to our lives that we just don’t need. If you are looking to improve your digestive health, here is what you need to know to do so naturally.

Guest Post by: Justin Bennett of HealthyFit.Info

Image Courtesy of Pixabay.com

Get to Know Your Gut

Our digestive tract is often called the second brain of the body. It produces the chemicals we need to feel happy but also is imperative to our immune system’s functionality. Our guts are full of helpful bacteria, such as Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Akkermansia, as well as other probiotics. These help us digest our food but also keep our bodies healthy. 

When the levels of healthy bacteria diminish, we can experience negative side effects, such as constipation or diarrhea. You may have difficulty processing food, become bloated, or even have heartburn. These changes in gut flora can lead to a fluctuation in weight, fatigue or loss of sleep, skin conditions, and even autoimmune deficiencies. Understanding the need for probiotics, and knowing what you can do to improve your gut health, can cause other areas of your health to dramatically improve.

Adjust Your Diet

You can start the process of healing your digestive tract with your diet. The most basic tenet of a good diet is to eat unprocessed, natural foods. You want meals that have healthy fats, such as avocados, nuts, and salmon, and that offer large doses of fiber to keep your insides clean. 

Cruciferous veggies and healthy carbs, like sweet potatoes and squash, are excellent for our digestive strength. Add some fermentation to your day as well. Fermented foods are rich in naturally occurring probiotics, which can bolster our gut and our immune system. Don’t stop there. Things like apple cider vinegar have something called hydrochloric acid, which helps us process difficult-to-digest foods, like fats and protein. Unsweetened yogurt is also good for us. If you are getting dairy-free versions, make sure they have live cultures added to them.

Find the Right Exercise

You may notice that when you exercise, you find some of your digestive ailments alleviated, yet there are ways to make sure the workouts you choose are the best possible option for digestion. Yoga is one particularly effective means of exercising your digestive ills away. Many poses gently compress your internal organs, which can help move things along in a natural, calm way. You also stretch your body out, elongating your spine and intestines, which can help digestion. Regular exercise can strengthen your muscles, especially your abdominals, which may aid in your digestive health. Moderate aerobics can increase circulation, which helps blood get to your gut.

If you’re planning on starting a yoga practice, you can do so right from home. Create a dedicated space for practicing—a spare bedroom or rarely used dining room is ideal. Make sure you remove any possible distractions and introduce some calming elements like indoor plants. Open any curtains or shades to allow as much natural light into the room as possible. If dirty windows are preventing light from entering this space, you can read reviews on window washing services near you to find capable local window cleaners. Expect to pay between $2 and $7 per glass pane. 

Things to Avoid

There are plenty of things we shouldn’t do (or eat) if we want to keep our gut healthy. Foods high in lectin should be avoided, as lectin can stick to our intestine and make it difficult to process nutrients. This can lead to inflammation, something that needs to be avoided to heal our gut. It’s also wise to avoid foods that are heavily laden in fat or foods that have been fried. These can cause chaos in our intestines and stomach, leading to aggravated IBS, acid reflux, or heartburn. Spicy foods can irritate the GI tract, so no matter how much you love hot food, it’s time to cut back. 

You may need to reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption. It can cause inflammation in the gut, and also block our bodies from absorbing nutrients. It may even lead to diarrhea or stomach cramps. You may also want to cut back on how many berries you eat. Tiny seeds can get stuck in our stomachs or intestines and cause many problems, such as infection.

It may seem like a giant overhaul, but remember, you don’t have to make all of these changes overnight. Living a healthy lifestyle will come from making small, gradual changes over time. Setting goals such as eating a mindful diet, doing the right gentle exercises, and knowing what you should avoid are great places to start. Soon, you may find yourself feeling better than you ever have.