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!

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 

Free Yourself to Improve Your Life By Cutting Out These Habits

There is no shortage of literature that revolves around actions you can take to improve your life. But what if sometimes we need to be focusing on the habits and mindsets that we should eliminate? By stopping negative actions we have … read more

Guest Post by: Dorothy Watson of the Mental Wellness Center

Image via Unsplash

… become accustomed to, we can free ourselves to make meaningful strides toward health, wellness, and joy. Stacy Reuille-Dupont, Ph.D. has listed some practical things that you can stop doing today so that you can make room for a better you!

Staying at an Unfulfilling Job

First of all, you spend a lot of your life at work. So, if you hate your job, chances are it is having a negative impact on your life. Whether your job is boring, not accommodating your talents or desires, or simply too stressful, make a change now. 

These days, you can get a college degree while still balancing the other responsibilities in your life. Taking online courses will help you boost your career prospects and give you the flexibility you need to focus on family, work, and other commitments. For instance, pursuing a bachelor of science in business, information technology, or health administration could open up all kinds of opportunities for your future. Just make sure that any online school you consider is accredited and offers competitive tuition costs. 

Waiting to Get Started

Too many people wait to make meaningful changes in their lives until there is no longer an opportunity to make them. Don’t wait for your situation or circumstances to be perfect before you change your career, try a new hobby, start a family, or make other moves. If you wait for the stars to align, you may find yourself looking back at missed opportunities. 

Skipping Over Your Own Needs

Did you know that you could be a great parent, family member, friend, and citizen without living to please others? Taking care of your needs does not make you selfish. Each of us has a unique personality and chemical makeup, which means that none of us have the same exact needs. Make time to relax, recharge, and navigate any mental, emotional, and physical health issues that are keeping you from reaching your goals.

Not Taking Care of Your Health     

This bad habit sort of falls in line with the previous one. You must carve out time in your daily schedule to foster your mental, emotional, and physical health. Make sure you are exercising at least five days a week and eating a nutritious, balanced diet. Also, come up with a bedtime routine that helps you get at least seven hours of sleep each night. There are strong links between our psychology and physiology, and making simple strides toward better exercise, eating, and sleeping routines can do wonders for all-around health. 

Dwelling on the Past or Future

One of the hardest things to do in life is to embrace the present. Each of us has made mistakes and experienced moments in the past which we wish would have gone differently. However, other than learning lessons, it does no good to dwell on the past. And at the same time, you shouldn’t try to predict the outcomes of the future. If you want to dream about what’s to come, focus on envisioning your goals rather than fantasizing about unrealistic circumstances.

Neglecting to Get Help

If you live with depression, anxiety, ADHD, or any other mental health issues, you are not alone. There are many more people throughout the world that deal with similar conditions. There are so many, in fact, that there are professionals who dedicate their life’s work to helping individuals navigate such issues. Don’t be afraid of reaching out for help. If you are ready to transform your life and receive the guidance you need for navigating the challenges ahead, connect with a mental health professional like Stacy Reuille-Dupont today!

Sometimes, self-improvement is being proactive about eliminating harmful behaviors or thoughts. If you relate to any of the habits above, start making the changes you need to make right now. And always be open to other ways you can develop healthy habits and mindsets that will keep you on track to becoming a better you!

Would you like to read more helpful content or learn about how Studio B is helping our clients through a wide array of physical and mental health issues? Visit stacyrd.com today!

4 Steps to Improving Your Mental Health Through Better Sleep

When we don’t get enough quality sleep, most of us worry primarily about how tired we’ll feel the next day. It’s only when it becomes an ongoing, chronic issue that some of us start to realize the mental impact of poor sleep. It’s not just that we feel low, stressed, or unfocused: Research has shown that sleep deprivation could be a cause of certain psychological disorders as well as a symptom of it. Luckily, a few simple changes to your sleep habits and environment can be enough to improve your quality of sleep, and in turn ensure your mental well-being. 

Guest Post by: Stephanie Haywood from MyLifeBoost.com

Photo Credit: Photo via Unsplash.

When we don’t get enough quality sleep, most of us worry primarily about how tired we’ll feel the next day. It’s only when it becomes an ongoing, chronic issue that some of us start to realize the mental impact of poor sleep. It’s not just that we feel low, stressed, or unfocused: Research has shown that sleep deprivation could be a cause of certain psychological disorders as well as a symptom of it. Luckily, a few simple changes to your sleep habits and environment can be enough to improve your quality of sleep, and in turn ensure your mental well-being. 

Dr. Stacy can help you create a personalized mental map to help you reach your health and fitness goals. Schedule an appointment today!

Make Your Bed as Comfortable as Possible

Start with the obvious. If you want to sleep well, you need to make sure your bed is perfectly suited for it. If you haven’t switched mattresses in a while, you may want to invest in one of the new “bed in a box” models. Next, focus on your pillows. According to Good Housekeeping, the key to a good pillow is providing a neutral alignment with your spine. In general, this means side sleepers need thicker, firmer pillows, and stomach sleepers will need thinner pillows. 

Assess Your Environment

Your room should be geared toward restful sleep. If there’s too much light, try installing blackout curtains. Noisy city dwellers could benefit from a white noise machine. Too warm at night? Open your windows or get a fan.

If you get too warm or too cold during the night, you may want to invest in a fan or portable heater. Alternatively, if you fear expensive electric bills, something as simple as opening the window or buying warmer pajamas can make a world of difference. 

Last but not least, make sure that you keep your bedroom organized. Disorganization can lead to you experiencing feelings of anxiety, which can very easily disrupt your sleep. In addition to keeping your room clutter-free, make sure you take the time to clean your bedroom doors and windows. Every little bit can make the space more relaxing.

Create a Relaxing Bedtime Ritual

If you tend to lie awake in bed going over the day’s problems, your problem has less to do with your environment and more to do with the state of mind you are in when you go to bed. In order to prepare your mind for sleep, create a bedtime ritual that relaxes you and winds you down. 

You could, for example, have a soothing herbal tea with sleep-inducing properties, such as chamomile, passionflower, lavender, lemongrass, or valerian root. You could also take a long hot bath or shower or read a few pages of a book. A few stretches can also be extremely effective, and they have the added bonus of soothing sore or tense muscles. You can do knee-to-chest stretches for lower back pains, lunges for sore glutes, and child’s pose for releasing neck tension. 

Once you’re in bed, meditation can be an extremely effective way to stop spiraling thoughts. Popular meditation app Headspace has an entire section dedicated to sleep, including guided meditations as well as relaxing sounds and music. If guided meditation isn’t your thing, try taking some deep breaths to clear your head and relax your body. 

Get Moving

Your quality of sleep is not just linked to your bedtime habits. What you do throughout the rest of the day also matters. The best example of this is exercise. In itself, exercise is excellent for both your physical and mental health. However, regular exercise is also linked to good sleep, with several studies showing that people who work out tend to sleep better.

It doesn’t matter when you work out, and it doesn’t even have to be intense exercise. As long as you do it regularly, you will likely see an improvement in your quality of sleep within a few weeks. 

Every night, our minds and bodies have the opportunity to rest, reset, and process the day’s events. If your environment and habits aren’t geared to allow this, it is going to be a lot more difficult for you to get the sleep you need to feel mentally well. Start by identifying what your barriers to sleep are, and then address each one individually until you have perfected your sleep routine. Your mind will thank you.