Thursday, December 3, 2009

Success Principle Ten for Being a Good Care Giver: Prayer

Remember to thank your God (The Universe, whatever you believe to be a higher force) for each new day because it is an opportunity for you to move one step closer to your personal goal of being a great care giver.

How many times in your life have you looked up into the sky and asked God to help? 

Like so many of us, when we are in trouble, we always turn to a superior power for assistance. A helpful reminder when praying, refrain from asking God to bring you things, or more money, or any other material objects, God is not our servant.

However, God is there to help guide us and provide the encouragement through the little miracles that occur around us. When taking time to connect with your God-source, show gratitude and thank God for all of the good that’s in your life. Give back by showing gratitude.

Our God force within is there to assist each of us to recognize the clues that are left in our path.  Clues that lead to new doors with new potential.  Through the power of YOU and God you will be shown ways to acquire all of those things that you choose to have in your life.

The power of prayer is amazing.

Your life doesn’t need to be one that is filled with religion in order to exercise one of the greatest gifts that we have at our disposal…. Prayer.  Meditation is prayer.  Cooking is a form of prayer.  Anything that assists you in stopping thought, is prayer.

Prayer can come in many forms, not necessarily to rush to your local church, get on your knees and say prayers that you may have learned as a child.

To pray is to connect with your inner strength, the God force that you have within you; a force that is so strong that it can and does assist people to accomplishing things that they never knew they could do.  Care Giving is a perfect example.  How many of you have heard people say, "I don't know how you do it...?"

Be grateful for the little miracles that we see as Care Givers, a good night sleep, a couple of hours to ourself and especially be grateful for the occasional moments when we have our loved one back, even if it's for a short visit.

Everything is possible.  Miracles can happen, they do happen, every day.  All we need to do is open our eyes and give thanks.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Success Principle Nine for Being a Good Care Giver: Action

All well and good that you are reading my articles about the Success Principles of Being a Care Giver, but unless you DO SOMETHING, you may as well do something else with your time.

Years ago I took Physics while in college and I learned about Kinetic Energy, it's the law that describes that anything in motion remains in motion.  While you are moving, you are able to work.  I like to call this "being on a roll."

The tough part is staying on the roll. 

Often there are interruptions to our routine which makes it nearly impossible to stay motivated.  I'd say this is the main reason I stop doing those things that help keep me moving.  Primarily it's exercise that I'm talking about here.  I've found through experience that moving and using my body is the best way to help myself.

Endorphins are released in the body when we exercise which helps you to feel calm.  Care Givers need all the calm energy that they can create.  You see, by moving, by keeping yourself in motion, you are creating the calm energy that you need to be a really awesome care giver.

From experience, I'm noticing that the more I exercise, the more calm I am.  I feel peace.  I am sleeping great at night.  Exercising MY body... who knew this would help my mom?

How do I work exercise in with Care Giving?

Wii Fit is the best invention, EVER for care givers.  It allows me to do a work out at home.  My mom watches and laughs her head off at times.  Even on her not so good days, once I use Wii Fit and the balance board, she laughs, bringing happier energy.  She feels better because of the peace we created through motion and laughter.  All Success Principles combined create the sweetest energy that makes Care Giving way easier and enjoyable.

Last week my mom and I were doing Wii Fit together. 

She had been using the treadmill but she kept dragging her feet.  I didn't see how that was helping to build any muscle in her legs, she was having trouble keeping up with me when we'd go shopping.  That's when I thought about the Wii Fit jogging feature.

My mom began running in place with her Mini-me a couple of weeks ago.  I run next to her, coaching her along the way.  Encouraging her, telling her that she's doing GREAT.... little bit further... etc.  She can only go half way and I finish the rest for her.  But, it does get her blood circulating and her heart rate up, both really important for her vascular health.

My mom sleeps better now that she's on an exercise regime.  Her mood is better too because she's got some endorphins flowing into her blood and brain.  She can walk longer distances now when we go out grocery shopping.  It's noticeable and she's only been on this plan for 2 weeks.

We had stopped the Wii game for several months and now that she's started using it again, she's having some fun.  Just last week she was doing ski jumps and sliding down a hill with skis - even though it was the mini-mi doing it on the TV screen, she got to laugh and felt like SHE was REALLY doing it.

The funniest moment we've had so far is last week we were jogging in place.  My mom was holding the Wii remote.  I was jogging along side her, coaching her.  I began to work up a sweat.  My mom's mini-mi was moving fast, I felt I needed to keep up.

I thought to myself, "Hey, wait a minute..."  I look down at my mom's feet.  They WERE NOT MOVING! She figured out that if she shook the remote, it would appear that she was running.  I caught her cheating with the exercise game.

We both laughed so hard when I busted her for cheating.  Especially when I had sweat coming down my face and she was cool.  My mom laughed so hard that she had to sit.

So... it's all about action.  Moving.  Doing something, anything, just get up and do it.  Even if you just do it for yourself, moving will keep you engaged with the world so when your Care Giving Project is over, it's easier for you to live the life of your dreams.

Success Principle Eight for Being a Good Care Giver: I will Multiply My Value 100 Fold

You Can If You Think You Can

We can do anything that we set our minds and hearts to accomplish.

What can we do as Care Givers to multiply our value?  I'm not just referring to helping our loved ones, I'm talking about what are you doing now to multiply your personal value of you?  What are you doing today that will help you the day after your Care Giving Project is over?

Care givers can hide behind the very people they are caring for, it can become our excuse to do nothing for ourselves.  It's a pretty lame ass excuse if you ask me.  Heck, I was falling victim to it and found myself becoming more and more unhappy.  My mom, she just got more and more nuts.  It wasn't working and I had to do something to avoid a massive train wreck from occuring in my life. 

What did I do?  I got creative.  I looked in the mirror.  Instead of thinking of my Care Giving tasks as a thankless job, I began to experience the blessings that Care Giving brings.  I changed how I approached Care Giving.  I changed how I thought about my mom.  Seeing her for the funny person that she is, I began to relax and enjoy her.  After all, isn't the whole point of giving her more good days so that she could spend them with my family and me?

So, with this post, I hope to multiply my value to my readers 100 fold, to maybe shine a beacon of hope on those down days when you want to say F-It and walk away.  Deep down you know you could never do it, but we think about fleeing.  We can't help it.  Some days suck with Lewy... but the good news is, they don't have to. 

Care Givers, we hold the key to the good days. 

It's our attitude, actions, emotions, words, body language; all of these parts of being human are what hold the key to our loved ones having a good or bad day.  Start now by working on yourself.  Practice and incorporate these success principles that I'm writing about into every area of your life and life will become so much better for you and your loved one. 

You will find success in having peace.  Inner peace and calm.  You know, the stuff you can't buy.  Our prize will come, apply the principles of success, right now for YOU. 

I'm discovering that I feel more empowered as a care giver.  I'm planning my new career now for when this Care Giving Project is over.  I'm visualizing what I want my life to be.  I'm writing my movie script for my new life which is absolutely a work in progress.  It's exciting. 

Dreaming and dreaming big... is there anything else?

What we give out to the Universe, we receive.  Give love, get love.  Give money, get money.  Give value, get value.

It's really not difficult to have peace, you just have to give it!

Success Principle Seven of Being a Good Care Giver: Humor

Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone.

Laughter is the best medicine for all things that bring you down.  I've been known for my unique laugh, when something hits my funny bone, laughter bellows from the deepest parts of my soul.  I feel the laugh coming, it comes on like a shot and there's no way to hold it in.

In school as a kid, my laugh always got me reprimands.  My laugh was contagious and made others laugh.

Laughing never worked in quiet places like church and the library.  But, I still laughed.  I can remember being a little kid about 7 and I had gone to church with my neighbor friend.  She went to public school, I went to Catholic school, where we went to church.  We sat in the front row (they call them Pews.) 

My friend Doreen Sweeney, she saw that they had stamped the words "Leave in Pew" on the cover of the miselet.  Doreen loved to make me laugh and saw that this would be a "funny time" to make me laugh.  She poked me to get my attention and then pointed to the words on the booklet as she held her fingers to her nose.

I let out such a laugh, it echoed in the church.  I couldn't stop laughing.  I peed my pants.  I left church early.

The next day, I went to school... my catholic school with the nuns and their big long black habits, the principle standing at the door, motioning me to come with her.

Uh oh!

Stupidly, the group of my teachers went to the same Mass and were seated behind me.  Boy, did I get in trouble for laughing in church.  One good thing, the nuns didn't scare me enough to stop me from laughing.

In college my laugh career continued, my laugh followed along, after all, it is part of who I am.  People who were funny sought to be around me, I was great for their humor egos.  I laugh.  I laugh and laugh.  I had lots of fun through out my life because I laugh. 

Once I went to a comedy show up in Maine and the comedian gave me his card, he loved my laugh and wanted me to follow him around to get his audience going.  I was honored but never went to another of his comedy shows.  Actually, I think it was the last one that I had seen!

I did marry a man who could be a comedian, but I'm grateful that he didn't take that path, it's a hard life.  Brian is very funny, he makes me laugh a lot.

People are funny.  Animals are funny, especially my cat.  Sometimes even my mother's Lewy moments are funny, like the morning she woke up thinking that she had died and was in heaven because we have so many bathrooms.  There's even humor in terminal illness... we just need to fire up our funny bones and let out some laughter.

Laughter helps my mom rest.  I do what I can to make her laugh as she's going to sleep.  For some reason she often finds my hypnosis suggestions funny.  They make her laugh so hard that sometimes she has to get up and use the toilet.  My new profession could very well be the laughing hypnotherapist for LBD.

Through out my life, I have laughed.  I honestly believe that I was born laughing. My parents told me often when I was a kid that I was "their sunshine."  Susie Sunshine... that would be me. 

People have told me that my laugh fills a room.  It's my calling card.  People who know me and havent' seen me in decades, will know me because of my laugh. 

Laughter makes you feel good.  Laugh on purpose.  Force yourself to laugh.  Exercise your laugh muscles.  If you are a frowner, go find someone who's funny to hang out with.  Read some funny bloggers.  There are lots of them out there.  I link to some of my favorites on my blog.  I'm always looking for people who can find humor in all things, even Lewy Bodies Dementia.

I'm not talking about laughing to make fun, I'm refering to the laughter that is love.  The burst of energy that comes from your heart and is vocalized through a thunderous sound, a clash of energy that explodes into the ethers, spreading good cheer.

Today, find something to laugh about.  Even the lunacy of hallucinations, look at it from the outside and just laugh.  It will make you feel better and once you laugh, the tension will be lifted and your love one will laugh too.

Bring peace and calm to your Lewy visitor and laugh!

Success Principle Six for Being a Good Care Giver: Emotions

Life has ups and downs. Some days care giving for my mom can leave me feeling as though I've got more down days than up ones.  It was during a down time that I knew I needed to do something to save myself from my own destructive thoughts.

I've had times when I have been fearful of the road ahead.  Not knowing what the hell this Lewy Bodies Dementia would bring my way.  I suppose we are fortunate to be care givers for someone with LBD because Lewy has a way of making a Care Giver face fears head on. 

I'd say the biggest fear we all face is death.  It's going to happen to all of us.  Every day we are really one day closer to our death day.  Oh boy, that's enough to send the strongest minded person into a mini-depressed state of mind.

What is it that we fear as Care Givers?  In my opinion, I believe it's facing our own mortality.  Caring for a parent who has a terminal illness, one where there's no cure and the outcome is not good, has left me looking in the mirror.  I ask myself questions like, will it happen to me?  Will LBD affect one of my siblings or my husband?  Can we avoid the trouble now by changing our habits?

I really don't know the answers to these questions but I do know I'll give it a good shot.  I have changed my habits, life habits that were speeding up my aging, rushing me faster toward the end of my life with a similar fate as my mom.

I've seen the destruction of Lewy Bodies Dementia.  I know it is brought on by poor nutrition and blows to the head.  Poor diet.  Out of control blood sugars and blood pressure helps ensure one will lose their minds at some point in time if they survive heart disease.

Looking in the mirror I say to myself, "Self I say, what the hell are you doing?  Do you really want to have Brian looking under the bed for extra wild animals or a strange man that only exists in my mind?


I have decided not to fail myself.  I have taken action.  I have taken control of ME.  I am grabbing fear and turning it into a positive, I will succeed as a care giver, even if the outcome for my mom is death.  There's no growing, there's nothing new, just decline... but we can succeed with Lewy by making changes to how I chose to react to the fear of the unknown.  Will it ever end?

Fear of failure is an opportunity to succeed

Focusing on my own self, I know that I am the only one that I can control.  I control everything about myself.  The way I chose to think, the dreams I have, all of these thoughts are mine and I control them. 

Overcoming obstacles and controling one’s emotions when care giving for someone with Lewy Bodies Dementia can be difficult. What I am discovering by practicing business success principles with care giving is that I'm able to control myself better. 

“When we direct our thoughts properly, we can control our emotions...”

W. Clement Stone

1902-, American Businessman, Author

There are people who come into our lives who are negative and can easily bring us down. These individuals are dangerous to our success as Care Givers.  They often are fearful themselves and unintentionally share their fear with you bringing on self-doubt. Conversely, the people we are caring for can easily bring us down too, the only difference with our loved one is that we are the one who created the negativity in the first place with our negative attitude or behavior.  Remember, LBD folks feel energy, you don't even have to speak.

Do all that you can to avoid being with negative thinkers, people who criticize your plan and your dream.  As Care Givers we all have dreams of helping our loved one pass over more comfortably.  I know it's true for me anyway, my personal goal and dream is to help my mom have more good days than bad ones, keeping the hallucinations at bay long enough for her to still enjoy the sparks of life that she still has left.

The critics in your life will resurrect your greatest fears. Fear is an internal defense mechanism that turns itself on when it is forced to cross into unknown waters. The fear of failure is the obstacle that hits us when we are nearing our success. Our thoughts start to race and we begin to doubt ourselves. We start to say to ourselves “What if …” as though some part of us is trying to defend fear and convince us to quit.

The best way to over come fear is to face it. If you have a phone call you’ve been putting off for quite some time, pick up the phone right now and make that call. Face whatever fear is causing you to procrastinate. The feeling of liberation after you have done a task that you really didn’t want to do is quite magnificent.

An aide to overcome anxieties of completing uncomfortable tasks is to breath while you allow yourself to relax. When we face our fears with calm, relaxed and calculated actions, we are more likely to move through the difficulty unscathed.

Breathing Exercise to Relax

While sitting straight up in a chair with your arms and legs uncrossed, or lying down with your arms and legs uncrossed, close your eyes and get comfortable.

Begin to slowly take deep breaths through your parted lips. Hold the breath as you visualize yourself in your movie. See yourself achieving your persoanl and care giving goals. Slowly breathe the air out as you feel yourself become more relaxed. Continue breathing like this for several minutes. Experience your relaxed state of consciousness. Feel the life inside you and believe in your greatness.

Each time you begin to feel overwhelmed with the events that are occurring in your life. Stop. Breath. Relax. Remember who you are. Surround yourself with positive people who will support you on your journey. Surround yourself with mentors, people that you wish to model your own life after. A Success Coach (also called Life Coach) is a type of mentor that many people turn to for support. These individuals help their clients to remain focused and give them the support and encouragement to keep going and not quit.

Together they work through the roadblock, creating solutions to counteract the problems that you appear to face.

Believe it or not, even a coach needs a coach to help stay on track. Human nature is what causes people to forget, we all need reminders.  I may not be telling some of you anything new. Please take these words as a reminder to remember what you know and continue to apply it to your life.

Through the effort of working on ourselves and becoming the best that we can be, we are ultimately helping to change the world into a happier place, one person at a time. It all begins with YOU!

“Weak is he who permits his thoughts to control his actions; strong is he

who forces his actions to control his thoughts.”

Og Mandino

Success Principle Five for the Care Giver: Time Management

Care giving and Time Management? 

I can hear the Care Givers moaning at the sight of these words.

I'm not crazy nor am I demented!  Seriously, I'm not nuts, Time Management when applied to Care Giving helps to relieve YOUR stress as a Care Giver.  It is helping me to be a better Care Giver because I'm scheduling ME time.

Why is managing one's time so important?  Time Management provides an opportunity to take care of things that are important to you while you are providing care to someone who depends on you.  We all benefit when we have a sense of accomplishment.  It's important to feel like you've finished something, it is great for ones soul. 

So, how does one apply Time Management to Care Giving?

First, make a plan that has dates which you have created for yourself and keep them.

Live each day as if it were your last, make it count. Don’t waste any time, once your time has been spent, there’s no getting it back. Make “time” work in your favor by sticking to your plan and taking on one task at a time.

“I am definitely going to take a course on time management... just as soon as I can work it into my schedule.”

Louis E. Boone

American Author

A secret to achieving goals is to create projects out of your tasks. Instead of calling each task of Care Giving a job, which doesn’t appear to have an ending, look at each tasks as a complete project. By doing this, you will begin to feel that you are accomplishing something and not just doing a thankless job.

Finishing a project does wonders not only for your self-esteem, but it also gives you a tool to measure your future Care Giving projects and create time lines for completion.

You are also getting yourself into a good habit (Success Principle 1) for the time when your care giving duties have come to an end.  Practicing success principles, will help you open new doors when you are ready for the next phase of your life.

We always have so many things to do during any given day. A tried and true known fact is, those who make lists, prioritize the items on the list and then take action (Success Principle 9), complete more work in less time.

Creating a plan for yourself every day, you are able to see what needs to be done. This is also a good exercise in training your brain to focus. By focusing on your individual projects, breaking them down into manageable pieces, it will eventually lead you to your goal, you are reinforcing your dream(s.) 

Plans bring order. 

Caring for a loved one with Lewy Bodies Dementia requires calm, peace, order.  My mom, the woman who was not a very good house keeper, maybe because she had so many kids, now gets aggitated if I leave dishes in the sink over night. 

To avoid the upset, I have a Project Plan that I created to help me provide better care to my mom.  I plan time for my mom and I make sure I make time for me. 

Exercise is important to me, I know it helps me to manage my stress levels, which makes me a better Care Giver.

Writing is another piece of my Care Giving Project Plan.  It's my personal outlet for seeing what I could be doing right or wrong as a Care Giver.  Writing is therapy for me.  I thank all my readers for being my internet therapists, just reading my words helps me.  So, thank you readers!

Meditation is also important to me.  It allows me to find peace inside.  Even 5 minutes of a quiet meditation is enough to restore my calm during the roughest Lewy storm. 

Breath.  Take time to breath.  Deep breaths, slow deep breaths, makes one more relaxed and calm. 

Care Giving requires calm. 

It's not always easy to be calm or switch it on and off.  But as Care Givers, we can train ourselves to do it.  5 minutes a day is all it takes.  Schedule the time with yourself and then keep the date.  It will help you to help yourself to feel good.

Success Principle Three for the Care Giver: Persistence

Care giving for someone with a terminal illness can often leave the care giver feeling like they want to run for the hills.

At one time or another, all of us have dreampt (or will dream) of different ways to escape, it's human nature.  We fantasize about a one way plane ticket or a drive to nowhere, just as long as it's far, far, away from the insanity that has become your life with the arrival of Lewy. 

I'm personally living with my mom who has Lewy Bodies Dementia, an illness that I see as one of the mind and spirit.

What I have learned through out life is that we can always run from our perils, but we can never hide.  It took me years before I realized that I create all the peril in my own mind. 

I hold the key to free myself from guilt, shame or any other really nasty vibe that can bring me down. 

Realizing this simple belief that I have always cherished and applying it to my duties as a care giver, my care giving got easier. 

Even the crazy days, the bad days that come with the Lewy Bodies Dementia, even those insane days are easier. 

I am chosing how I wish to react and feel.  Only I can shift how I think about care giving, no one can do it for me.

It's really all about love, everything that a care giver does, comes from the heart.  It's an honorable act being a care giver to someone who's only real outcome is a ride in a hurse or resting on a mantle in a fancy jar.

I'm finding that when I approach caregiving from an angle of, "how can I be a successful care giver?" my life feels lighter, I feel free even though nothing has really changed except one thing, my mind. 

I have freed myself of burdens through love and how I chose to perceive the blessing of being able to care for my mom.  I'm learning from her still, even now in her 80th year she is teaching me more about love than I ever thought possible.

The result, it's a happier life for me and everyone who lives with my mom.

It does take persistence though, the 3rd principle of becoming successful with anything. 

I am very persistent when it comes to my mom's illness and with believing in the power I hold with in myself. 

I believe that we can stop the progression of Lewy Bodies.  I have believed this from the beginning, even though everything that I read states the opposite, that there's no cure and the prognosis of a peaceful death for my mom are slim.

But... I refuse to believe it. 

I believe in miracles. 

I believe in the miracle that is me who has the ability to move mountains and solve any problem that is presented in my path. 

Persistence is the fertilizer for my soul to keep on keeping on.

“Success is almost totally dependent upon drive and persistence. The extra energy required to make another effort or try another approach is the secret of winning.”

Dennis Waitley

1933-, American Author, Speaker, Trainer, Peak Performance Expert
Care givers that are persistent win.  

We win the big prize, the unspoken prize that only the care giver knows and understands.  It's a prize which we can't describe in words.  We gain so much as care givers.  Is it peace of mind, knowing that we did all that we could?

I don't know for sure, I haven't gotten to the end of my journey with my mom yet.  I do know that there's no better reward for me than when she wakes up from a great night sleep, ready for a good day.

I'm honored to have been given the opportunity to chose this path, it is not always easy but it can get easier. 

I have discovered that care giving for the love of it, especially for someone with Lewy Bodies Dementia can make the difference between a good day or a bad day. 

Good days and bad days really begins with us, the care giver.  Our emotions have a powerful affect that can be felt through space and time.  It's all about us as care givers and how we chose to approach our love for the person.

This week I began following a blogger who's writing makes me laugh.  I find laughter to be so important for good health, especially when care giving to a crazy person.

Yesterday, I read Josh's blog post and it was a video.  I rarely watch videos on blogs because I usually leave the sound turned off so that I don't wake anyone in the house, especially at 3am.  This video post, I needed to watch, I felt compelled to watch.

You see, Josh, the World's Strongest Librarian, has Tourette's and he's a librarian! 

His message is on point with the topic of my blog post today, persistence.  Never giving up on yourself.  The power to achieve anything, even respite in your own mind, is possible when you persist. 

Visit Josh's blog and watch his video, it's heart opening. 

Persistence allows people to accomplish and achieve greatness in their short lives on Earth.