Hope in the Midst of Life ~ July 2018

 In Featured

Simple Decisions that have Significant Impact on Caregiving

School is out!! Yeah!! Welcome to summer… and routine changes. (Deep breath!) As we know, changing “normal” can be challenging, for all of us. Sometimes this is especially challenging for caregivers! The decisions we make about those changes and what “normal” is, can have profound effects on the quality of our lives and the ease or difficulty of our caregiving situations.

Currently, I find myself making decisions about paint colors, and I am reminded of some effects of color. Red (and colors close to it on the color wheel)  is extremely stimulating and exciting. As a counselor I know that the LAST color I want my office to be is red, especially for the children I see. If I have an appointment with a child that day, I will never choose to wear red. Instead, lavender and soft blues and greens effect our brains in ways that make us all feel much calmer with more clarity of thinking. It’s a simple thing really, that the colors of the environment effect behaviors and emotions of all of us, especially children. How calm are the colors in your environment?

Another very helpful plan is exercise. How much exercise are we getting? We all know that exercise will help us manage stress. We caregivers also have to consider, how much exercise the person we are taking care of, is getting!  It is easy to stay inside and watch TV. But summer is a fantastic time to be outside.  Just consider early morning or evening if the days are too warm for your workout or theirs.

Speaking of “outside”… research is now talking about “grounding” or “earthing” as something to help our bodies be calmer and healthier. Grounding is simply spending some time (preferably daily) outside barefoot or sitting on the ground. Research is also finding this is beneficial for inflammation, immune responses, wound healing, and chronic autoimmune diseases. Who knew getting your feet or hands dirty in the garden or yard is so healthy?!

There is always a long list of what we “should” be doing.  But another thing that is very exciting to me is nutrition!  A study at Arizona State University was just published that says they have proven that nutrition and dietary intervention IS effective at improving “symptoms, cognition, digestive health, and behavior” in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders!  You can read about it at www.nourishinghope.com.  (Nourishing Hope also has all sorts of information related to this.)   The simple first focus would be on quality, chemically free vegetables and fruit. The study has many other things it considered, and even uses Epson salt baths.  Also consider and decreasing sugar and high fructose corn syrup.

To think that I can make a significant difference in my caregiving duties by the colors I wear and the colors in the environment, by exercise (mine and theirs), going barefoot and sitting on the ground, and by the food I eat and I serve…  Amazing!!

Enjoy summer and may the “new normal” be joyous!

Janet Miller  MA LPCC

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