Archive for the ‘5 Minutes for Me!’ Category

Exercise can protect those at high risk of Alzheimer’s

Thursday, September 9th, 2010
In a study of individuals who carried a high-risk gene for Alzheimer’s disease, researchers found that those who exercised showed greater brain activity in memory-related regions than those who were sedentary. Exercising may help to protect them against cognitive decline.
For those at high risk for Alzheimer’s, this study adds to the evidence that lifestyle choices may slow down the damaging effects of the disease. Exercise may build up the cognitive reserve in the brain, allowing people with the risk of Alzhiemer’s to remain at a higher level of functioning for a longer time.

Taking Care of the Caregiver 3-29-09

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

The concept of taking care of yourself first so you can help take care of others continues to intrigue me.  I used to think most people naturally took care of themselves first, and I was “the only one” who needed practice with this.  I have always been good at taking care of others.  It came naturally.  I am continually amazed to find that not taking care of oneself first seems to be a human condition – most of us do it.  It is easier to give advice to others to take care themselves, and sincerely want them to do it, and even see the value in them doing it.  If I take care of myself first, sometimes I feel guilty or selfish.

I’m going to take care of myself now, and go to bed early.

The sliver of moon is beautiful tonight.

Take care!

Family Caregivers are Answering Obama’s Call to Service

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Are you making you making your community or world a better place by being of service? President Obama has made national service an important cause – and wants to make it possible for all Americans to serve their country.

34 million family caregivers have already been answering Obama’s call to service. A study by AARP (“Valuing the Invaluable”) shows that family caregiving the U.S. reached $375 billion in 2007.  That exceeds the $311 spent by Medicaid last year!

Family caregivers also give an average of $5,531 of their own money to care for their parents. They tend to struggle with physical and financial issues of their own, and be more stressed.

Many times, family caregivers could use to be of greater service to themselves, while taking care of others.  Access to needed resources, self-care and health promotion and having a support system to talk to about the challenges of caregiving is critical. offers the national resources, education and community to help caregivers reduce stress and increase peace of mind.

Family caregivers – thank you for your service!

New Awareness of Everyday Activities – for Caregiver Health

Monday, September 29th, 2008

Today is about nurturing yourself while you’re doing regular activities.

For example, how about enjoying a shower meditation? While you’re showering, take the time to feel the water on your skin, and imagine it washing away the stress of the day.

While you are eating, bring your awareness to the taste of the food in your mouth.  Allow yourself to appreciate you nurturing yourself with healthy food to keep your body vital and healthy.

While you’re walking today, feel your feet touching the ground.  Imagine that every step you take is on sacred ground and that the earth is supporting you.  Bring your awareness to the flowers along your path, and appreciate who made them.

Bring your awareness to your breath.  Take deep, cleansing breaths and feel your lungs expanding and oxygenating your cells. When you breathe out, exhale stress and judgment, and inhale loving and calm.

Take everyday activities and bring your awareness to them in a fresh, new way today.  It doesn’t take any extra time, just a shift in perspective.

Take good care of yourself today.

Resting – for Caregiver Health

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

Today, I’d like you all to stretch out of your comfort zones for 5 minutes for Me!   Today, I want you to just rest.  Yes, rest.  This could mean sleeping, or just sitting down and doing nothing.  Rest has a lot of value, including being restorative.

So, after you’re done reading this blog, please, go be somewhere just with you, turn off the lights and the phone and the pagers – put up a sign that says “unavailable for 5 minutes” and just rest.

Notice how you feel before and after your 5 minutes of rest. After resting for 5 minutes, celebrate and congratulate yourself for taking care of yourself and taking time for you! Leave the guilt behind.

If you’re like me, or other caregivers, taking time for yourself just to rest is an underutilized skill.  I remind myself regularly that rest is good and that it is productive – it just looks different than other types of productivity and the results are not always seen on the exterior.

Rest is important – it calms the nerves, decreases stress, and brings peace.

I want to hear from you – what do you do that brings you peace and calm?


Breathing – for Caregiver Health

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

Hello everyone!  This 5 Minutes for Me! focuses on your breath.

Focusing on your breath is a powerful tool, bringing relaxation, balance and clearing.

Set a timer for 5 minutes.  In the most quiet, peaceful room you can find, sit comfortably in a chair with your feet on the floor and your hands in your lap. Set your intention to focus only on your breath and let go of any other concerns or worries. (It may help to have a pen and piece of paper handy, where you can write down any recurring thoughts that won’t leave you alone).

Bless yourself in whatever way works for you – it may be a prayer, or an invocation of peace.  Now, just focus on the rising and falling of your chest as you breath in and out.  When you breathe in, your chest expands and rises.  When you exhale, you chest falls.  Feel the tide of your breath.  Take nice size breaths, and fill your entire chest with air.  Try holding your breath for five seconds before you exhale.

Become aware of your breath. Where does it come from and where does it go.  Let all your thoughts drift away.  Breathe in through your nose and out through your nose.

Bless yourself for this time with yourself.  Forgive yourself for any judgments you hold against yourself.

Now, you are ready to take on the day!  Do as many breathing awareness moments as you need or want!

Welcome to 5 Minutes for Me!

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

I am aware that caregiver health is a major public health issue. Caregivers are more twice as likely to be depressed,  have higher hospitalization rates, higher risk of heart disease, and slower healing rates  than non-caregivers.  The list goes on.  Physical, mental and emotional health can all be affected. The bottom-line is, it is time for caregivers to start taking better care of themselves. I love the simple yet profound quote by John-Roger: “Take Care of Yourself so You Can Help Take Care of Others.” This is especially true for caregivers.

I am going starting a segment called “5 Minutes for Me!” Since lack of time is often a reason we come up with for not taking better care of ourselves, let’s start with 5 minutes a day! Everyone can find 5 minutes somewhere, even if you have to give up 5 minutes of staring at your computer screen with no direction but generally surfing the net.

Also, as caregivers we are generally much better at taking 5 minutes to help someone else than 5 minutes for ourselves – hence the name minutes for “Me.” I know it will be a stretch for many of us to give ourselves even 5 minutes. Check it out and see what your experience is!  See the results of what taking 5 minutes will do for your health, balance, well-being, and peace level. Remember, this is fun!

I’d love to hear from you. What have you done for 5 minutes a day that has benefitted your health and balance?