Tag Archives: Healthy

[Health Rx] Taking Care of Your Care Takers

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Back a few months ago when my parents were visiting for Christmas break, we broke into one of our typically deep dinner-prep conversations that usually span topics like life philosophy, religion, love, politics, and basketball.  Basically, any of those topics that you were always told to steer away from – that’s where we go, immediately. Over Thanksgiving when my family first met Danny, one of the first group discussions we got into was answering my aunt’s question: “What’s your vice?”.  Not that we’ve ever cared about taking turns, but this time it was definitely mine – as we sat around, glasses of wine and beer in hand, I turned to them and whimsically wondered “When did you first realize that you were an adult?” After some bemused chuckles in the room,  we finally got to some answers that ranged from when they paid off their first car loan to when they got the keys for their first apartment.  Up to the end of last year, I can’t say that I felt much like an adult in any way, shape or form but that’s all been flipped on it’s head in the last few months.

One of the biggest psychological issues that we all deal with as we grow up is the idea of mind-body duality: I am a conscious entity, and I’m being expressed through a separate physical body.  Our entire life feels like a reconciliation of these two ideas as we learn to live with both in perpetual symbiosis. As we age past midlife, the crux of our life’s parabolic function, the more our lives revert back to mirroring infancy and the older we get the more the mind body duality tends to re-separate, and their relationship seems to be in revolt: My consciousness feels fine, while my body is anything but.  It’s one thing to recognize this in ourselves, but quite another entirely when it’s happening to a parent, when you have to take care of your care takers

Let’s face it, we’ve been the ones that have had to be cared for…up until now. But somewhere along the way to the rest of our lives, we just had to grow up.  We got older, we evolved, we matured into ourselves and we started figuring out how to be adults. Child, sister, brother, teenager, adult, wife, husband, mother, father, grandparent…of all the roles that we either briefly or permanently assume over the course of our lives, the most inevitable role – the one that we’re least prepared for – is the part of care taker.  All egos included in the scenario are off kilter – more often than not, our parents and peers don’t want to accept care from their children.  We’re the people they looked after with gleeful and conscious delight for our whole lives, they cleaned our scraped knees and wiped away our tears….and now, we’re supposed to be their strength?  In short, yes.

Self Care + Proper Proper Prioritization

Maslow had his hierarchy of needs, and you do, too.  While we stress about taking care of those we love, we often forget to take care of our number one – ourselves, so let’s talk about you and how to best take care of yourself in these difficult times. In order to maintain any semblance of normalcy and or sanity, you’ll want to keep some semblance of your old schedule, at the bare bones minimum you’ll want to focus on maintaining a comfortable routine.When it comes to taking care of loved ones, chances are you’re going to have to rearrange the order of parts your pyramid of priorities.

Mind, Body and Soul

Your well being and the well being of those your caring for now catapult to the top of your list, and a lot of things will fall to the wayside – for now, it’s okay to let it. Your social circle and the social circle of those that you’re helping need to be aware of what you’re going through so they can figure out the best way to be supportive of what you’re experiencing. It’s not the most fun, but be prepared to put-off your less permanent plans while you get some necessary nesting in.

Beyond your metal health and emotional health, your physical health is equally important.  Make sure you’re maintaining your daily meals and getting in the necessary calories, because you can’t take care of those you love if you’re not taking care of yourself.  If you can make it to the gym, go ham – if you can’t, don’t stress!  Try your luck with a local yoga studio, or get up, get out and go for walk around the neighborhood.

The Value of a Support System

Life can be tricky, but having a good support system makes it a hell of a lot easier for everyone. We’re not just talking about those you’re taking care of, but you.  Be honest with yourself on what you need, and between your pride and your ego: don’t be afraid to ask. You have people in your life that love you to the moon and back, and would want to be there for you any way they can – let them. Whether its a quick phone call at lunch, an impromptu dinner date or a little text that just says they’re thinking of you, having people in your life that you can depend on to love you when you need it is everything.

Stay Organized

With any health issue, comes pounds and pounds of paperwork to be sorted.  Some of it can be tossed – though, I emphatically believe that you shred personal information instead. My recommendation is to keep a detailed medical diary – especially if there are multiple medications to deal with.  Create a table with pertinent information, wound changes, medical dosages, etc and be sure to input any changes to their status in the diary. Beyond the health issues at hand, there are a lot of non-medical financial numbers and paperwork to handle when you’re in assist mode, so make sure you stay on top of it with some organizational help.  Draw up a bill calendar and make sure they’re on auto-pay to reduce stress of late payments and shut off fees.

Taking care of the people that have always taken care of you can seem like a daunting task, but know you are beautiful in your selfless sacrifice, in your vulnerability, and in your depth. Do you have any pieces of advice for those out there in care taker mode?  Let me know in the comments below.

Love and light to all of you.

Xx

 

 

[The Kitchen Kitten] Walnut + Blue Cheese Salad

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I almost fell off the bed this morning when I saw that it was December 17th; no, time did not stop for me on my 29th birthday and yes, I’ve been paying attention as the days pass – but the month is halfway over and I can almost count the day to 2014 on my fingers.  Man, oh man – it’ almost that time of year.  At the office, it means the first quarter of the fiscal year and the directors are making sure that all of our ducks are in a row, crossing their t’s and dotting their i’s.

But, on a more personal level – it’s almost the holidays, meaning whatever free time I thought I had will be gloriously overrun by family, friends and festive celebrations – three of my favorite F words, believe you me! However, since there are only 24 hour in a day and I’m always trying to cram three too many things into it, the one area of my life that I almost ignore when I’m busy is my appetite.   And take it from a Pro, that can throw your whole day in a downward spiral if you don’t tackle it in time.

Good new is that I’ve found the perfect, quick and easy fix – in the form of a salad!  I know what you’re thinking – silly rabbit, tricks are for kids!  True – but this tried and true meal can range anywhere from an appetizer salad to a full meal depending on how stacked you’re willing to make it.  One of the best things about salads – minimal prep-time.  Simply stock the fridge with your favorite dressing, fresh veggies and  then toss some arugula, red leaf lettuce or one of those convenient pounce of mixed green and your kitchen will always be prepared.

Before we go to the next step, expand your mind a bit about what can go into a salad.  Since cucumber, tomato and avocado are all fruits, why not toss in some slices of mandarin for a splash of citrus? Why not shred some of your favorite meats and cheeses for a boost of added protein, or add some nuts?  The possibilities are endless if you put your mind to it! The salad below is what I like to think of as a ‘next level’-salad – you have the incredible, savory flavor of the blue cheese melding with the sweet, smokiness of the candied walnuts, then the complementary cold and refreshing flavors of cucumber and beets leaves the pallet wanting more.  And trust me on that last part – I make this salad at least twice a week now! Now, onto the good stuff.

Tools:

  • 2 bowls – 1 large, 1 medium / small
  • cutting board
  • sharp knife
  • cucumber peeler 
  • muddler (or, object with a blunt end)
  • salad tongs (optional)

Ingredients for 2:

  • 1 cup Baby Arugula (or greenery of choice)
  • 4 oz Blue Cheese Crumbles (If the taste is a little much, try Goat Cheese or Feta)
  • 6 oz Candied Walnuts (chopped or smashed)
  • 1/3 Cucumber
  • Trader Joe’s Goddess Dressing (or whatever your pleasure may be)
  • 6 oz cold Beets
  • Last, but not least – beats: I’ve really been digging on Emancipator lately – it’ perfect  stop-and-smell-those-roses type of music.

Optional: Upgrade yo’self, because you’re a boss like that:

  • Fresh Baby Shrimp ( .5 lb)
  • Granny Smith Apples (1 diced)
  • Prosciutto (4 slices)
  • Ground Pepper + salt (Tsp each)
  • Cherry Tomatoes (10-15)
  • Scallion slices (enough for flavor; to each their own)

The Basics: Mixed greens, beet, cucumber, blue cheese, candied walnut and Goddess dressing

 

Now, let’s get down to brass tax – and it’s incredibly simple:

  1. Wash your lettuce / arugula / whatever greens you selected and tear them into edible morsels, toss into large bowl and set aside
  2. Peel and chop the cucumber and beets (and other juicy veggies), throw into large bowl with greens and mix well
  3. In a small bowl, take your candied walnuts and your muddler and get your smash on until the pieces have become about a quarter the original size
  4. separate the blue cheese crumbles in your hand a bit and toss in with the walnuts
  5. Load the large bowl with dressing, toss for a bit then throw in the content of the small bowl

Voila – your ten minute meal is le served!