Self-Care Tips for Caregivers - Elle Cole Interview | ARKcrystals.com – ARK Crystal

Self Care For Caregivers - Elle Cole Interview

This interview is part of the ARK Crystal Wellness Week Series from February 2022. During the Wellness Week Series in held every February and Late Summer ARK Crystal brings together thought leaders and inspirational wellness speakers to share their knowledge and experience.

In addition to being a blogger, an author, podcaster, and entrepreneur, Elle Cole from CleverlyChanging.com is also the primary caregiver for her twin girls, one of whom has a chronic health condition. In our interview together, Elle gives easy and often free tools that caregivers can use to care for themselves.

Self Care for Caregivers

 Those of us who are caregivers for others, older family members, children, spouses, and even good friends, can often feel depleted and stressed. Elle Cole uses her experience caring for her twin daughters, one who has a chronic illness, to help others.

Here are a few of the tools she uses and suggests others to try to better handle their own stress and stay healthy themselves.

Be honest when you need time

BE HONEST

No matter how bad things may currently be with the ones for whom you are caring, you still need to care for yourself. There is a truth behind the proverb "You can't drink from an empty cup."  So, be honest with others around you and let them know when you need a break, even if it's only for a moment.

Deep Breathing

PRACTICE DEEP BREATHING

As we discussed yesterday, taking a moment to take a breath is one of the easiest ways to decrease your stress and bring yourself back to a level place.  And, it's free! 

If you are feeling overwhelmed, angry, sad, it's ok to have these feelings.  It is good to recognize these feelings.  These feelings can come up, especially when you are having to work with doctors, insurance companies, therapists, and often all over the phone where it is difficult to feel seen and recognized. 

As Elle reminds us, we don't know what may be going on in the other person's life, but we can take control of our reactions.  Taking 10 seconds of deep breathing can help to re-center, remind yourself of what you are grateful for, and to recognize that it will be "ok".

Drop the guilt see a therapist

SEE A THERAPIST

This suggestion is not free, but it is priceless. 

Your friends love you, dearly. It is only natural that we share our burdens with them but there comes a time when finding a profession is what is best.  Best for you and best in order to keep your friendships intact.

Ask your healthcare provider for a referral, and if the first therapist isn't a good fit let your healthcare provider know why and they will work with you on finding someone that fits your needs. Don't be afraid to speak up.

Eating Healthy

EATING HEALTHY

It seems obvious, but often when you are spending hours driving your loved one to and from appointments, spending hours in hospitals, and being drained and tired by the end of the day, sometimes making nutrient-filled meals is not at the top of the to do list.  But it should be.

Elle shared the story during a certain time when her daughter was going to doctors, and they were spending hours at hospitals, that she would hide chocolates in her car.  She would sneak moments and eat her hidden chocolates in a small quiet moment by herself.  The problem was soon discovered that because of her hidden high sugar chocolate habit she had developed cavities! 

After hours in the dentist's chair, she realized 1- she did not want to be doing this again, and 2 - what she was really seeking was a moment alone.

Cooking healthy meals can also be a way to decrease stress.  Take the time to enjoy what you are creating and appreciate the ingredients.  You can also listen to a book on tape while preparing meals.   Make it enjoyable and a health-producing habit.

As a bonus, you will be modeling good food habits for others in the home. If they see you eating well it becomes easier to make it a habit.

Do what works for you

DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU

All of these ideas and tips are suggestions that have worked for Elle. But, if you don't like something, like cooking, or seeing a therapist just isn't for you, that is fine. 

This is not a cookie-cutter life and we are all different.  We all have different tastes and preferences. Perhaps instead of seeing a therapist you go for a long run, take a painting class, or start journaling.  

It's all about what works for you.

Start with one thing, don't get overwhelmed

START WITH ONE THING

Watching the interview with Elle can be exciting and motivating. But, she suggests not taking on all these new tools at once.  Even in the best of intentions that would be overwhelming.

Choose one new coping tool that you enjoy. Just one! Then find a way to integrate it into your daily life.  Breathing exercises, therapy, music, a new hobby, eating healthy, journaling, or whatever works for you. Choose one and make it yours.

 

Want to hear more from Elle Cole? Watch our entire ARK Crystal Wellness Week interview.

Elle Cole Cleverly Changing

 

Thank you, again, to Elle Cole for taking the time to share her insight and experiences with us for ARK Crystal Wellness Week 2022.