Sandwiched Mom Caregiver Squeezed with Stress

by francy Dickinson    

Dear Francy; I am a single mom of twin teen boys and have my 85 yro dad here too. I work under time deadlines and my life is falling apart. I’m shaky, my voice is nasty all day, I feel sick to my stomach most days and I do not know how to escape?

Well, bad news…no escape – it’s called life in stress. Your body and emotions are trying to tell you they are on max so we need to reduce your stress. Bodies show the side effects of high stress. You will find that stress makes a boiling pot of toxins in your body and when the pot boils over the toxins begin to effect your body chemistry and that is bad. That ais when you shake and when you have an upset stomach and so much more like high blood pressure. So, number one WATER you just have to force yourself  to drown in water so the stress effects can be flushed away as much as possible. I know that adds extra duty to the bathroom, but you really have no choice if you want to come out of these few years of stress a healthy lady with your future – drink water till you drop!

Here are some tiny “kill stress” points to try to incorporate:

  1. WATER > Remember drinking will flush your system and just the act of taking a moment to drink interrupts the pressure points. So drink as much as you can. Do not count caffeine drinks in the mix they dehydrate and add garbage to the mix. You are trying to rinse out your insides and you do that with water with maybe a squeeze of lemon or a splash of fruit juice in the bottom of the glass. Buy a nice glass water container and take it where ever you work.
  2. BREATHING > you have to take time every hour on the hour to stand up and walk away from your work area or your kitchen area and just take a few deep breaths and then return and go back to it. Not a big break just little breaks that can keep you in a calmer state all day.
  3. STRETCHING >When you hit the floor in the morning, do not move– stretch like a cat. Just stretch out your body. No time for formal exercise, fine, but stretch. If you are standing in the kitchen making dinner do a back leg stretch or a side stretch- it will once again release the pressure on your muscles releasing stress.
  4. MASSAGE > if you stand all day then get yourself a foot bath with massage setting and before you hit the bed at night, fill it up and do a five to ten minute soak. If you stand or sit all day then you need a massage neck or back wrap and you would sit and turn it on for about 10-15 minutes while you are in your TV chair. You are telling your body, “I am relaxing and ready for bed now”– You will be able to release the muscle tention and get a deeper sleep.
  5. EYE SHADES > help keep your sleep dark and deep. Get in a habit of using them, you can find cute ones on Esty made by loving hands. They will keep the melatonin levels right and you will feel like you are on vacation in your own bed.
  6. MANICURE/PEDICURE > some times a treat for yourself is just the ticket to make your mind feel loved and relaxed. Stop into a local shop and get your feet done each month and add your fingers when you have extra time. It will pay you back triple the money you pay for the pampering services. Its not a day spa or Maui but it is pampering girl stuff in a all guy household.
  7. PLAN AHEAD>Make days very easy to remember. Sit down with yourself and plan. Do not live day to day. Planning can be broken and re written but it will give you a sense of being in charge, not being a victim of life. So Make Monday your laundry day and let the family know that it is and the dinner is simple tacos. Make Tuesday boys vacuum and do the garbage and your dad folds laundry, you have a slow cooker meal so it is easy. Give yourself one mid week TV nite and at least one day of family on the weekend. Figure it out by drawing it on paper. This way, you will have your shopping list in order, your household tasks in order and your biz work in order. It will release you of constant worry over where you are and what you have to get done.
  8. RULES > make rules that are real for your 3 men. Tell them one is in charge of this, the other that and your Dad this…make it tasks that are easy for them to learn or do, but will release you of some of the everyday tasks. Tell them you are feeling stressed out and worried about your own health. Being honest with young children and seniors is so important. Life is not about them, it is about all of you. So tell them you need help and they can all do that if they would just make sure their main task is done each week for the family. Then do not do that task. If the garbage build up, there is a reaction of no $ or treats for that son…if your dad refuses to load the dishwasher he can eat his least favorite food for a couple of days without dishes. Life has to have rules and you have to set them with real meaning.
  9. TO DO LIST > Each night do a fast 10 item to do list. It will organize your thoughts, it will tuck your worry away for the night. Then remember to cross of your to do list tasks. It is very important that you see that you have gotten task done. Busy people tend to feel they have never gotten anything done in a days work. That is not true, it is just that one task fades into another and you feel like the chores are never ending. Your mind needs to be rewarded, cross through your task done so you can really see your success each day. Task not done can go into the next day…who cares, it all works out in the end. The point is you are on top of things to do for the three guys and yourself and work. That list will take out the stress of what to do next deadline you live on at this time.
  10. BREAK >You have to have a break and even if it is every two weeks or once a month, you need to have a glass of wine with a girlfriend, a movie with a cousin, a dinner with someone from work. It may seem like a silly waste of time and energy, but your time to laugh, giggle, think goofy thoughts, talk creative and adult conversations and complain about your life is totally important to your good health and will erase a lot of stress.
  11. LOVING YOURSELF when you are in the middle of care giving it is hard to think…I love me. But loving is not just giving it is keeping you as strong as you can be so you can be the center of the wheel in your home and the care giving that do for your sons and dad. You need to be strong first, so eat well, drink, stretch, rest, give yourself pesonal treat time and most of all – treat yourself as you would treat another family member or friend – love YOU

You are the fibre of our life in the US. Busy people, running around caring for our children, working hard, caring for our parents and family…how great is that? So give yourself a pat on the back, you are not out there doing nothing you are at home and in the community- working hard and I appreciate what you are doing. I just want to make sure that there’s a you in there that comes out the other side in a few years, when your sons are out of college and your dad has passed —- you need to still be here strong and healthy with us. You need to know you will have the rest of your life. Take care now to life strong and long.

Please do go to my website at for more ideas. I have a great e-book called Care Giving 101 Workbook that will help you with giving care in your own home or in the senior’s home. It has all the basic home nursing tips and gives you ideas to support yourself as well as your spouse or loved one. These books are very popular with care givers and I encourage you to buy one so you can feel more in power of your situation as the care giver. It can be very lonely out there all alone when you are giving care – I want to make the experience more comforting for you.

I write these blogs to share information that I have gathered in my many years of care giving. I am now tending to my husband with Alzheimer’s and my books and services are how I’m able to stay at home and care for him. Thanks for all you are doing for your own loved one, blessings. francy

PS I am on Twitter @seniorcaretips and I would love to have you listen to my talk radio show on senior care issues just click the radio button on my home page. The show is on demand so you can listen whenever you have time.