Mindful Monday no. 67 – Generosity

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“Generosity is another quality which, like patience, letting go, non-judging, and trust, provides a solid foundation for mindfulness practice.”

– Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go There You Are

Caregiving is a generous act in itself. Invite generosity into your mindfulness practice this week to notice how it makes you feel.

When we are generous, we offer freely and without expectations of a return:

We may offer a compliment to help elevate someone`s sense of worth.

We may offer time to connect to someone who is lonely.

We may offer to take someone out to lunch in order to show our love for them.

We may offer understanding when someone is in need of support.

We may offer support by donating or volunteering our favourite causes or organizations.

We may offer our time as caregivers to our loved ones so that their well-being is improved.

What I have found in my own practice of generosity is that seemingly small gestures have a ripple effect. We  feel more connected and happy when we give, and so do those who are on the receiving end – both the individual and the community.

Do you have any examples of generosity that you’ve been shown by others that continue to resonate with you? I would love to hear your stories in the comment section.

Lindsay

Healthy Foods for a Healthy Mind

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In this post I will explore the relationship between healthy eating and dementia prevention.  Certain foods can cause inflammation  and may increase the risk of dementia, and other foods are anti-inflammatory and may decrease the risk of dementia.

Here is what The Women’s Brain  Health Initiative recommends:

  • stay away from sugar, white flour products, and processed foods
  • eat leafy green vegetables, salmon and other cold-water fish, berries, extra virgin olive oil, and cold-pressed virgin coconut oil
  • eat whole grains and limit your consumption of saturated fats
  • the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is recommended.  This diet emphasizes vegetables, fruits and fat-free or low-fat dairy products, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, nuts and vegetable oils, and limits sodium, sweets, sugary beverages and red meats.
  • the Mediterranean diet is also recommended.  This diet includes relatively little red meat and emphasizes whole grains, fruits and vegetables, fish and shellfish, nuts, olive oil and other healthy fats

For more information on dietary recommendations visit Memory Morsels

Calm Pond

Foodie Friday: 6 Cognitive-Boosting Foods

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Did you know that some foods have cognitive-boosting properties? We like to call them brain foods! Certain foods help the brain remember and improve its cognitive functioning. These foods can help reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease as well.

Here are 6 cognitive-boosting foods to eat more: 

  1. Wild Salmon –  The omega-3 fatty acids in wild salmon help to improve memory and focus.
  2. Walnuts –  As a quick snack full of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants, walnuts help to enhance mental alertness. The vitamin E in walnuts helps to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
  3. Bone Broth – Bone broth has received so much attention lately and for good reason. It is healing in part due to its amino acid content; Proline and glycine boost our memory.
  4. Black Currant – The anthocyanins and vitamin C in black currant heighten concentration and mental alertness. At the same time, they reduce mental stress and fatigue so that you can endure mentally draining activities for longer.
  5. Avocadoes – Avocadoes are a super food because of their high content levels of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, potassium, among other nutrients. All of these contribute to brain function. Avocadoes have also been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease among those who eat them regularly.
  6. Broccoli – Broccoli is chock full of vitamin K which greatly benefits brain activity.

If you would like to learn more about brain-boosting foods, see this article.

Lindsay

Mindful Monday no. 66 – Connecting with Family

pexels-photo-196362It is Family Day in BC! A statutory holiday where families are encouraged to spend quality time together. For caregivers who are caring for a loved one, this can be an opportunity to help foster connection with other members of the family.

Here are 6 ways to connect with family today: 

  1. Spend some one-on-one time with young ones to foster the inter-generational relationship. (It also encourages us take time to play!)
  2. Hand-write a letter or a card to a distant relative to show how you have them in your thoughts. (If that feels like a stretch, send an email instead.) 
  3. Express your appreciation towards your adult children for the people they have become. (You can never express it enough.) 
  4. Make a lunch date for later in the week for a spouse or partner. (Do something out of the ordinary). 
  5. Invite a cousin or other relative from outside your immediate family to meet up for some coffee. (It will be good to connect!)
  6. Bring out the family albums and spend time reminiscing with your elders. (It will inspire your gratitude practice!). 

Need more ideas? Find out what else is happening for Family Day on the North Shore HERE.

Lindsay 

Notes on Emotional Eating book

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Hello readers:

These are my notes on Craighead’s book (2006) ‘The Appetite Awareness Workbook (how to listen to your body & overcome bingeing, overeating & obsession with food.’

-She talks about EEE (effective emotional eating) in which you eat because you feel something unpleasant or distressing but you don’t overeat.

-You have a right not to be hungry.

-Her recommendations: eat 3 meals a day and 2 or more snacks at regularly scheduled times

-The normal range for BMI (body mass index, Google ‘BMI calculator’ to find your BMI) is 19-25. Anything in the 25-30 range is overweight, and a BMI of 30 and above is considered obese.  Most American women are in the 24-26 range.

-If you are under stress you can postpone your weight loss plans and just eat normally, this way you will at least not gain any weight.

-As you get older you have more responsibilities which makes it harder to have the time, energy and leisure to devote to losing weight or maintain a thin body

Hope you find these notes helpful. For me personally, I felt better when I read the part about not expecting myself to lose weight when I was under stress.  It gave me permission to eat some of my favorite foods without feeling guilty. Of course, I still guarded against overeating.

Bon appetit!

Calm Pond

 

How to Express Yourself Through Creativity

pexels-photo-254717.jpegCreative expression can be a helpful tool for self-care, as it facilitates the expression of our innermost thoughts, feelings, and reflections. The creative process is about letting go of self-judgement and exploring the process with curiosity. These are useful skills for when we cope with the challenges of caregiving.

It also provides the time to process our emotions, to take time to sit with our thoughts and feelings, in order to find ways to get them out. Getting them out—expression—relieves us of rumination, worry, and depression.

Here are 5 ways you can express yourself through creativity:

  1. Draw or paint: Use colour, texture, line, and shape to express how you feel. Allow yourself to become fully immersed in the act of drawing or painting. Involve your body in the strokes of the brush, or in the scribble of the pencil.
  2. Dance, jump, move: Put on some music and move your body to express the many emotions you are experiencing. Dive deep into one emotion in your movement or show how scattered you feel in your steps.
  3. Free-write your feelings: Free-writing is exactly what it seems, writing with full freedom to explore. Take a piece of paper and a pen. Write at the top: “I am feeling” and write non-stop for 10 minutes. If you get stuck, simply re-write the sentence starter “I am feeling” and see what new thought pops into your mind.
  4. Create a sculpture or collage: Use found objects and assemble them together into a collage or a sculpture. Use disparate objects around the house to express the conflicted emotions that you feel inside.
  5. Make music: Belt out a tune, beat on a make-shift drum, tickle those piano keys. We can make music out of nearly anything. The many popular cup rhythms on YouTube demonstrate the human connection to music. Many tout the healing power of singing, so why not give it a try?

If you would like a starting point to incorporating more creativity into your life, please see these helpful books:

  • Natalie Goldberg`s Writing Down the Bones
  • Julia Cameron`s The Artist`s Way
  • Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic
  • Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit

Lindsay

 

Respecting Elders

Elderly seniors need more empathic attention and love when they:

– have a disability or poor health

– are living with mental health issues

– are dependent on caring relationships

– are isolated and/or without personal supports

– have a past history of violence or conflict within the family

-have confusion or memory loss/ symptoms of cognitive impairment.

– Persons from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds

Today our Elderly desire dignity and respect from family members, friends and the community. It is an important distinction that the design of housing, services and activities should truly be more client-centered.  This way, seniors would be able to socialize and associate with others more freely, and to support each other. Being socially connected would also help lessen the caregiver burden for family members.

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Personal experiences

Seniors feel respected only sometimes, and this is heartbreaking to see happening.
The community at large needs to be more educated about how to respect the elderly as a valuable source of living history.

My mother has the desire to travel, however her physical and mental abilities are not strong enough for her to make any trips by herself.  My big challenge is to tell her no. Two weeks ago we went to Cuba, where I was entirely at her service with no moments to myself. A minute to myself translated into an insecure and unhappy mother.
Traditional elderly care has been the responsibility of family members and extended family, though due to decreasing family sizes in North America, an alternative for elder care at home is residential care.

Most elders would prefer to continue to live in their home, and many elderly people gradually lose  functional ability and require either additional assistance in the home or a move to an eldercare facility.
Our conscious awareness of seniors in our neighborhoods and within organizations helps to respect their rights. It is meaningful to facilitate Community Participation Groups for older people across genders, socio-economic, religious and cultural boundaries.

-Katayoun Shirzad, Family Caregiver and Counsellor.

In Persian:

حرمت و احترام به عزت

توجه عاطفي به سالمندان به ويژه سالمنداني كه مشكلات روحي و ناتواني جسمي دارند از اهميت ويژه اي در جامعه برخوردار است. سالمنداني كه دچار فراموشي شده اند و مورد بد رفتاري ديگر اعضاي خانواده قرار گرفته اند بايد در الويت قرار گيرند . محدوديتها و نگرش متفاوت فرهنگي بر نحوه مراقبت از سالمندان بسيار اثر گذار خواهد بود.

براي مثال مادر من عاشق تنوع و مسافرت مي باشد . او را با خود به كوبا بردم و تمام توجه من براي دو هفته كاملا به او بود. لحظه كوتاهي مراقبت از خودم از او مادري عصباني و غمگين ساخت!

مسئوليت مراقبت از سالمندان به شكل سنتي به عهده اعضاي أوليه خانواده حتي اقوام دورتر مي باشد.براي رسيدگي بهتر از سالمندان در امريكاي شمالي بهتر است از انها در خانه هاي سالمنداني كه از إمكانات خوب پزشكي و مراقبتي دارند نگهداري شود در حالي كه انها تر جيح مي دهند در خانه هاي خود بمانند.توجه بالنده و پيشرو جامعه و أفراد ان باعث مي شود كه مراقبت اين عزيزان مطابق حقوق انساني و شان سالمندي انها به بهترين نحو ممكن آرائه بشود.