The Importance of Sleep

Well, it is March! Spring is in the air as I write this. The sun is shining and we have a 59 degree day. After the mess that has been in Illinois, I will take it! Being in the sunshine is self care in itself. There seems to be a bright future as we are moving forward and, I believe, out of the scariest part of this pandemic. I look forward to no masks and smiling faces, touching people and not being afraid, social contact, and just being. I think no matter who you are in this world, we have all felt the pain, some of us worse than others, but dealing with the anxiety and the like nonetheless. I am grateful for the hat I wear, as an educator. It forces me daily to look at what I am doing to care for myself, as well as to reevaluate different tools that may apply to what we share with you. 

Today, I want to focus on sleep and the importance of it. Why not - it's Brain Awareness Week. I know, I know, you know this. But, do you make sure that you make it a priority? There are...
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Be Passionate About Your Career

I often think about my career path. The different schools, research, jobs, people, relationships, all led me to do something that I love. Although I was not doing this right out of college, I was teaching about science, so I guess, in a way, I did start out lucky. Being able now to teach about a topic that is near and dear to my heart just makes my job that much better. The beauty of what I do is that I get to solve problems for people. I get to help make their lives better and improve the quality of those in need. Seeing it from beginning to end is so rewarding. I am in love with the theme of this month, BE PASSIONATE ABOUT YOUR CAREER! If you can achieve this, happiness will truly ensue.

 

There are many approaches to assisting in having a "great day". Taking time in the morning to plan your day, using essential oils for a targeted benefit, exercising, something that is just for you. These self- care tools will help you to focus on work because you will have filled...

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Dementia Training Should be a Requirement in School

As many of you know, I am a clinical psychologist. I'm also a certified dementia practitioner and an Alzheimer's disease and dementia care trainer. I have been treating those with dementia for about 12 years now. In that time, I created and practiced my own dementia care model and even wrote a book on it, being published by Johns Hopkins in October. I've trained and educated thousands of individuals. I've done podcasts, interviews, and more regarding the field. Some would say I am one of the experts in dementia care. 

However, would you believe that I did not have one course on dementia in undergraduate or my graduate years? I remember in a course or two, perhaps a chapter included on cognitive disorders, however, it was never a focus or requirement to understand cognitive disorders. Most everything I learned about the disease of dementia came from my own doing.

Up until 12 years ago, my education and experience was mainly working with those with mental health disorders. When I...

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Start 2021 Focusing on You, including Your Career

Well, I am not afraid to say that I am grateful that 2020 is in the rearview! I have not quite come to terms with all of the events of 2020, but I do believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The thing that I am going to share with you is that I turned on that light. I do not have time to seek out opportunities, rather, I must make them! It's my personality....I do know that. I am impatient. So, rather than wait around for an opportunity, I usually create things to do and be a part of. This year will be no different. 

 

What I meant by I turned the light on is that I have the need to keep busy right now. I am sad over the loss of my father-in-law to Covid on December 9. It is so raw. He was a wonderful man, father, husband, and most importantly, Papa. Sometimes, we need to turn a light on in the darkness, rather than become a part of it. I am focusing on the beauty of his woodworking, enjoying the little things (as we usually do not as it is so...

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24 Hours in a Day

There are 24 hours in a day. How do you spend them? You might be thinking, especially now with more people being home or more time on the frontlines, "I work", "I take care of my kids", "I help my child with e-learning", "I'm taking care of my parents"...where do you fall into this? You, yes YOU, are the common denominator to make all this happen. Who takes care of you, so you can do all of this? When do you take care of you, so you can do all of this? 

Here's the long of the short of it...you are in charge of your self-care. You choose how you spend the 24 hours that are in the day. Let's break this down. Generally speaking and in line with health standards, people get 6-8 hours of sleep a night. That leaves you with 16-18 hours left. If you work, you may work 8-10 hour days (give or take). Now, that leaves you with 6-8 hours. You then may need to assist your kids with homework or the aftermath of e-learning; let's say that's about 2-4 hours. You now have about 4-6 hours....

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Self-Care Can Be Quick and Easy

My husband was diagnosed 3 weeks ago with COVID and my children, with the exception of 1 and myself all had differing degrees of severity. We experienced mostly mild symptoms, but it was a strange experience. My anxiety went through the roof when he received the news. He had been tested 3 days prior. What do I do? Who do I call first? I felt like we had the scarlet letter branded over our front door. I sunk into a chair to contemplate so many questions; where had we got it from, who had we given it to, how sick would we be, would my children be okay?

Of course, Oil Mama mode began! I blew past those useless thoughts and negative feelings and turned on some diffusers in my home right away...I am always empowered by my diffusers. I got to take control of something in my life!
 
With essential oil use, I can help myself, even though I cannot control what happens, I can control how I respond. I choose to use tools that help me without worrying me about side effects and...
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Self-Care at Your Fingertips

Often times when we talk to people about self-care, they are quick to say that they don't have time or they aren't sure what to do. We've also heard that's it's too costly, thinking that self-care means paying for an expensive massage, manicure or pedicure...now, don't get me wrong, those are nice self-care tools, however, self-care doesn't have to cost any money, can be done in less than 5 minutes, and it's all in your mind!

Here's how...

Instructions: Choose a quiet place, if able. Lay down or sit in a chair with both feet flat on the ground. Place your hands to your side. Either have someone read the script below and close your eyes, or keep your eyes open, read to yourself, and imagine in your mind.

"I'd like you to take 3 deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth. You are breathing from your diaphragm, not your chest.

Imagine that you are on a beach. You are sitting on your towel and you scoot yourself to the edge of the towel. You take off your shoes or...

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Why Do We Always Find a Way to Ignore What We Need?

Why do we always find a way to ignore what we need? We usually fall dead last when it comes to our mental wellbeing. As I contemplate the present, which is the strangest of times, I realize that we do not have the ability to continue on like this unless we want to pay for it with our health. Yes, that is what I said. There is a direct correlation between our mental and physical health. 

I am sure you are familiar with people associating a heart attack or stroke with stress. Well, we are finding out that many other diseases can be started and exacerbated by stress and anxiety. Caring for your mental health can physically make you healthier. So, how do you fit this into an already overloaded schedule?  Simple, you control your day. 
 
You may not think so, but you are the keeper of your actions. We tend to blame other things for ruining our days, or filling them. The hard truth is, we do have control of it. Now, taking control, that can be a challenge. You may...
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What Would Life Be Like Without COVID

As we've all experienced, COVID has brought much angst, potential sadness or depression, anxiety, and loss in many ways. However, what else has COVID brought us...aspects that have been more positive...and what would life be like without it. 

Sure, we can certainly focus on if COVID was not part of our lives then we would not be trapped in our houses most of the time, be able to eat out at restaurants or go out and do more sociable activities, our kids would be in school full time and wouldn't be behind in their studies, our mood would be better, and most importantly many people would not have suffered the unthinkable losses of lives.

But we can't change that COVID happened and is still here.

So I choose, with my glass 1/2 full, to focus on what positive things I would be losing out on if COVID didn't happen. If COVID didn't happen to me, I would:

1. only be spending time with my kids primarily on the weekends.

2. not have discovered new tools for my self-care regimen in...

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Self-Care = Prevention

Let me put a thought in your mind...

"Self-care is a preventative approach."

Typically self-care is in reference to managing stress, dealing with depression and anxiety, lowering agitation, etc. Often it's used when someone is at their wits end, when they are burnt out and looking for a miracle relief, or they are in the throws of mental anguish and looking for relief.

Self-care should not be used when it's too late, when your 'cup is empty'. It should be used on a regular basis with the purpose to prevent such reactions from happening. Therefore, we recommend scheduling your self-care 'sessions' into your daily calendar. Is that 30 minutes when you get up, 15 minutes before you go to bed, or an hour at lunch - we recommend starting with 15 minutes at a time and working your way up to an hour a day. 

You may be saying to yourself, "Girl, you are crazy! I have so much going in my life - work, e-learning with my kids, a husband/wife, a dog, cooking, cleaning - I don't have time...

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