The simple gift of giving

The simple gift of giving

Do you get to this time of year and wonder how on earth you can help your friend or family member who is doing it tough?  Perhaps you care so deeply but just don’t know how you can help them or make a difference?  You know you can’t change their circumstances but if there was only a way you can make their days just a bit easier….. THERE IS! For many of us Christmas signifies the time of year where we get to take a “break” from our job, even if it is only for a couple of days.  We take the opportunity to cast our mind back over the year that was and set new intentions, hopes and dreams for the year to come. While it is a beautiful time where we come together and celebrate, for caregivers and those who experience extreme grief and loss at this time of year, it is impossible to get into the spirit. There is simply NO relief in sight.  No real ‘new beginnings’, just more of the same.  Responsibility levels do not change,  often needs increase.  Emotions are run high and it can be a stark reminder of what they are missing, not what they have! WE HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE THIS! Over the years I have spoken to many people and recently I surveyed people to find out exactly what would make a difference to them in their toughest times.  Here are the top 5  ways you can help out those doing it tough during holidays and every day: VISIBILITY & VOICE People simply want to be heard and...
Harsh lessons for my chronically ill son

Harsh lessons for my chronically ill son

It is no surprise to me that my son who is now approaching 15, over the past few months, has been resisting his medications, treatments and physiotherapy that keep him well and maintain his baseline health for Cystic Fibrosis. What is surprising is that it has taken until nearly 15 years of age for him to do it.  I figure that some of the social delays he has, have contributed to this.  But he is most certainly in his teens, physically and mentally.  He is incredibly strong willed and stubborn.  When he has made up his mind about something, there is not a whole lot you can do to change his perspective. When my boys were young and as I was bringing them up, I tried hard to teach them to listen to what their body was telling them and to adjust their behaviour accordingly.  Sore tummies or headaches, and anything in between, always followed with a discussion about what led up to the event or the symptom.  Trying to identify the trigger. What I was trying to do was gift them self-awareness.  I knew from being a teen myself and reading literature about teens with Cystic Fibrosis (and chronic illness in general) that the teen years were going to be tough.  Especially for Matthew dealing with CF. My theory was to teach them to understand that the things we do, the food we eat, the drinks we consume and the environment in which we live can significantly affect how we feel and how our body performs.  By doing this, I hoped, no I trusted that they would grow...
3 Ways to Boost Your Energy & Clear Your Mind

3 Ways to Boost Your Energy & Clear Your Mind

Are you a carer or parent who feel’s like they are running on empty?  Not sure where the next burst of energy is or how on earth you will get through your day?  Perhaps you are surviving on regular coffee and sugary pick-me-ups?  It is such a common and easy pattern to get into!  I know, because I have been there. It is no secret that as busy caregivers we run the risk of burnout and exhaustion.  We have the best of intentions, trying to be and do everything for everyone.  Ensuring our loved one’s are taken care of, receive their treatments, medications and other therapies.  Taking care of the household, not to mention everyone’s mental health!  Many of us try to work full or part-time too.  The responsibility list can be unrelenting. Then BAM!! Out of nowhere you get sick, really sick.  It takes you a loooong time to recover, but you must keep going right?  Because no one will do the work for you. No one else can provide the level of care you can and do.  But when you are down and out, providing the level of care that you expect of yourself seems near impossible doesn’t it?  You tell yourself, I can’t afford to get sick.  Something has to give. YES SOMETHING HAS TO CHANGE!! In no uncertain terms, you MUST take care of yourself.  I know it seems impossible and a whole lot overwhelming.  It is ‘just another thing’ to put on your ever-growing list.  I get that, I do.  I have been there myself.  But I ask you this: While you are taking care...
Nourish Your Mind & Body in 5 Ways

Nourish Your Mind & Body in 5 Ways

To keep us at our best, we know how important it is to nourish our mind and body! We also know that in order to operate at an optimum level and perform everyday, we need to ditch the sweet sugary snacks, processed foods and reduce stimulants such as coffee.  These cause issues with your blood sugar levels, contribute to dehydration, will give you a ‘foggy head’ and will lead to adrenal fatigue (stress hormone).  This is not where we want to be.  I for one don’t want to be concerned about my health when I need to take care of the one’s I love. Check out my 5 strategies to help you nourish your mind and body below:   Hydration Consuming at least 2 litres of water per day is essential for normal bodily functions. Lemon squeezed in a glass of water first thing in the morning is a great way to wake up, is a boost to your immune system and your liver will love you for it. Fail to consume enough and your body will not be able to function properly.   Whole Foods It is no secret that when it comes to food, fresh and colourful is best. Vitamins/minerals, proteins, fats & complex carbohydrates are essential in our diet. Processed food has excess sugar & chemicals will negatively affect our health. These foods really do give us an abundance of energy, nourish every organ and contribute to clearer thinking and better overall performance.  Think fruits, vegetables (green leafy’s), complex carbohydrates, lean protein & good fats.  Flavour with beautiful natural herbs and spices and you are on to a...
“Some days I don’t know how you do it”

“Some days I don’t know how you do it”

My friend sent me a message last week with the words “Some days I don’t know how you do it”.  She often see’s us going through our own ups and downs with the mental and physical health of my son’s.  She saw on Monday that after my son’s 3 week hospital admission, there was little improvement to his health status. My friend, however, is going through an incredibly tough and confronting time herself. The whole family is and has been for many years with her having to face her own serious health battles too. Right now they are facing serious health issues for one of their children and are having to make decisions that will potentially affect the rest of their child’s quality of life. The fact of the matter is, that she is trying to be strong for everyone but is on the verge of cracking herself. Not only is she trying to hold her family together during their own difficult times, she is dealing with grief and uncertainty around the health of one of her friends, who is terminally ill. How do I respond?  We all have our different stuff don’t we?  Differing levels of resilience from person to person and environmental factors can change our ability to cope at any given time.  So my response: “Well I guess I figure all the worry and stress really doesn’t help me or anyone else. In fact, for me it makes it worse. I can’t think clearly, can’t function properly and I sure as hell can’t make decisions effectively. I guess I have practiced it (coping) over a long, long time. Monday, I...