Articles and Information from GA Foods

Home-Delivered Meals - Safely Delivered!

Posted by Mary O'Hara on May 4, 2017 9:34:09 AM

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As a caregiver, you have many things to worry about. Food safety shouldn’t be one of them. When choosing a home-delivered meal provider, food safety and quality should be top priorities Selecting a provider that uses extensive food preparation safety procedures with a safe delivery model will provide peace of mind. 

Cold-Chain-Infographic_FINAL.jpgDon't Break the Chain

The “cold chain” process is one of the most effective and reliable methods of assuring food safety. This process ensures that food is maintained at temperatures that prevent the growth of harmful bacteria that can make you sick.  

The cold chain process transports perishable foods without using harmful preservatives and additives. This continuous cold chain ensures seniors will receive safe and healthy meals.

Here are some questions to ask when comparing home-delivered meal providers:

  • Is the food prepared fresh in an USDA-inspected facility?
  • Are the meals flash frozen to -19° F?
  • Is the food maintained in a cold storage at -10° F until delivery?
  • Is the food delivered to homes in specially-designed freezer trucks?
  • Do they have specially-trained drivers unpack meals and store them in freezer until ready to eat?

In-Home Meal Delivery

Some meal providers use third-party carriers, while others use their own employees. According to Consumer Reports, the number one complaint Americans had about meal delivery services was food that arrived spoiled, melted, or inedible.  When exploring home-delivery options, you may want to think about who will be making the delivery:

Here are some things to look for:

  • Drivers who wear uniforms and ID badges to readily identify themselves.
  • Drivers that undergo extensive background checks.
  • Delivery people who perform basic in-home observations. Some are trained and will alert case managers if they observe any unusual or life-threatening situations.
  • Frozen meals should never be left at the door. A reliable company will make arrangements to redeliver the food at a more convenient time. 

 GA Foods has been providing nutrition to seniors for over 40 years. They maintain control of the entire food preparation and delivery process. This further ensures the quality and safety of the food, and provides additional assurance to caregivers and families. You may also want to ask if the meals are suitable for diabetics and those with heart conditions. Meals that are low in sodium, sugar, and fat are best.

Nutrition care, in the form of home-delivered meals, helps older adults live more independently. Seniors will appreciate receiving nutritious meals delivered right to their home by a familiar and friendly face!

Download this eBook to learn more about how to choose a home-delivered meal provider. 

 Download 9 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Home-Delivered Meals Provider

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Topics: Nutrition, Home Delivered Meals, The Cold Chain, Food Safety, Caregivers, Healthy Meals for Seniors, Senior Nutrition

5 New Year's Resolutions Caregivers Should Not Make

Posted by Mary O'Hara on Dec 29, 2016 2:00:00 PM

 

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  1. The New Year provides an opportunity for new beginnings! The secret of making resolutions is to keep them reasonable. Don't place unreachable goals on yourself. Think of things you can do to change for the better and to make your life easier.

    Resolve for 2017 to take better care of you! To keep more balance in your life, here are five things you shouldn’t do:

    1. Over Schedule Your Time. 

  2. It’s important to not let others take advantage of your time and kindness. Schedule time to enjoy hobbies and pursue your interests. Consider finding a reliable person a few hours a week to provide respite care, giving you some free time. Professional respite care is also available for longer periods of time. Providing companionship for your loved one will give you a break, making you a better caregiver.

    2. Neglect Your Friends.

  3. Caregivers need to maintain a network of support and friendship. Friends can offer words of encouragement, and provide a sympathetic ear. They may also gain wisdom from your caregiver experiences. Activities with friends such as taking a walk, meeting for coffee, or just talking can provide a fresh perspective.

    3. View Everything As A Chore. 

  4. Caregiving will become less of a burden and more about spending time together if you connect with your loved one. Ask them about their life experiences, including the joys and the struggles. Sharing memories and family history will strengthen your connection and enrich your life.

    4. Do Everything Yourself. 

  5. Review what tasks you can outsource or delegate. Hire a cleaning or yard service to provide more free time. If you spend a lot of time preparing meals for your care recipient, consider home-delivered meals. There are local agencies (check Eldercare.gov) that offer home-delivered meals targeted for seniors. Many Medicaid and Medicare health plans cover the expense of home-delivered meals.

    5. Forget to Reward Yourself.  

  6. Being a devoted caregiver doesn't mean forgetting about your needs. Eating well and getting enough sleep aren’t luxuries! Besides staying healthy, it’s necessary to feel good about yourself. Visit your hair stylist, manicurist, or spa to look and feel your best. A well-deserved treat makes for a happier you!

    Congratulate yourself on all the things you do each day! 

  7. Wishing you a Happy New Year from the GA Foods family.

    Want to learn more about caregivers? Download our free infographic.

Profile of a Caregiver

 

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Topics: Home Delivered Meals, Senior Health, Caregivers, Healthy Meals for Seniors

5 Things You Miss with Holiday Stress

Posted by Maureen Garner, MS, RD, LD on Dec 15, 2016 8:17:40 AM

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Remember the excitement of the holidays as a child? Everything seemed sparkly and magical. As adults, a lot of time, money, and energy is spent trying to recapture that childhood magic. But as the holidays approach, you may begin feeling more like the Grinch than the child inside of you.

Why are so many people overwhelmed and stressed during the holidays? Common causes are unrealistic expectations, too many commitments, and financial pressures. If you are a caregiver, the stress is multiplied. Here are a few special feelings and moments you may miss if you let holiday stress control you:

1. Celebration

Let go of the holiday dreams portrayed by Hallmark movies and Pinterest. You do not have to recreate your grandma’s gingerbread cookies or decorate every room in your house. Instead of spinning your wheels, take the time to celebrate and truly enjoy your family and friends. Focus on a few traditions that make the holidays meaningful to you and your care recipient. Caregiving or caregiver burnout may change your current circumstances, so be open to new ways to celebrate*.

To prevent caregiver burnout download our free eBook, A Caregiver’s Guide to Taking Care of You.

2. Joy

Psychologists report that it is the giver, not the recipient that receives joy from gift giving. Anxiety over finding the perfect gift will rob you of the pleasure from giving. In addition, if gift giving causes financial hardship, it may lead to even more strain. Begin with a gift budget and be disciplined about staying within that budget. Consider donating to a charity or doing a family gift exchange instead of buying something for everyone on your list. If time allows, consider handmade gifts. Recipients will appreciate the time and thought you put into making their gift.

3. Peace

Planning ahead can lead to a stress-free holiday, particularly if you are a caregiver. There are many free holiday planners available online. (This site has fillable forms!) Several holiday tasks can be done ahead of time. Find recipes that can be cooked and frozen. Ask others to help – including your children. Kids love wrapping presents and decorating the tree. Instead of focusing on buying presents and decorating, focus on being present. Enjoy the moment and take time to give thanks. And, to keep peace during the holiday season, don’t set high expectations of yourself and others. Be flexible and willing to change plans, if needed. 

4. Fun

The first rule of fun during the holidays, is do not overschedule. It is ok to say no, especially to events that aren’t important to you. This will give you more time to do the things you enjoy. Visits with family and friends do not need to be limited to holidays only. If you are unable to attend a friend’s party, offer to meet them for brunch in January.

5. Good Health

Stress can affect your health, causing headaches, muscle tension, chest pain, fatigue, stomach upset, and sleep problems. If you do start to feel anxious or stressed, take a moment for yourself. Spending a few minutes doing something you enjoy may be all it takes to re-energize. Also, many caregivers neglect their own health, so be sure to make healthy choices during the holidays, such as eating healthy foods, exercising, and getting plenty of sleep.

Take Control

Preventing stress is the key to surviving the holidays. Take control of the holidays, don’t let them control you. If a holiday activity makes you feel overwhelmed, re-consider if it is necessary. This holiday season, focus on making memories and enjoying your family and care recipients.

If you or someone you know has caregiver burnout or is ignoring their own needs, download our free eBook, A Caregiver’s Guide to Taking Care of You.

Download eBook

*Be sure to check out next week's article! We will be sharing favority holiday traditions from GA Foods' employees!

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Topics: Reduce Stress, Caregivers, Stress, Caregiver Burnout

Does Being a Caregiver Keep You Up at Night?

Posted by Maureen Garner, MS, RD, LD on Dec 5, 2016 2:49:28 PM

Caregivers

Caregiving is demanding. Whether you live next-door or 1,000 miles away, it is challenging. It is estimated there are over 34 million people providing unpaid care to ill, disabled, and elderly adults. Caregiving can range from social calls to your uncle to providing direct medical care for a parent. Not knowing how to navigate through the responsibilities can make you feel helpless.

Tips for Caregivers

As a caregiver, you are not alone. Here are some tips to assist you:

Allow your loved ones to make their own decisions regarding their care, if they are able. Cognitive changes are normal as people age, causing older adults to be slower in processing information and making decisions. However, that doesn’t mean they are incapable. Include them in all discussions about their health and care needs.

Hire a geriatric care manager. Most are licensed social workers or nurses and are trained to identify the care needs of older adults, and help families put together a plan. Their goal is to improve the quality of life for the older adult and help them live as independently as possible. To find a care manager, click here.

Enlist others to help. With your loved ones, make a list of the tasks they need assistance with such as mowing the lawn, shoveling the sidewalk, or grocery shopping. Friends, neighbors, or community organizations might be able to support them with these tasks. Don’t be afraid to ask others for help; you don’t know who is willing unless you ask. Also, your local agency on aging might be able to provide resources for you. www.Eldercare.gov can direct you to the correct agency. Provide everyone with your contact information, so they can reach you if they have any concerns.

Arrange for a home health aide. Aides can help with personal care, homemaking chores, and even health care. Often these services are paid for by government agencies or health insurance.

Consider home-delivered meals. Good nutrition improves the overall health and quality of life for seniors. Studies have shown that home-delivered meals reduce the risk of hospitalizations and defers nursing home placement. Ninety-two percent of seniors receiving home-delivered meals, report these meals allow them to remain independent and living in their own home. Home-delivered meals may be available through the local agency on aging (www.Eldercare.gov) or provided as a benefit through your loved ones’ health plan.

Long-Distance Caregivers

Even if you are not the primary caregiver, there are still many responsibilities you can undertake. Offering emotional support to the primary caregiver as well as respite care will be appreciated. The primary caregiver may be hesitant to ask for help, so offer to pay bills, organize paperwork, or update family and friends. As a long-distance caregiver, you can also help the primary caregiver identify benefits and programs for which your loved one may qualify. The website, www.benefitscheckup.org, is a good place to start.

Caregiver Support Groups

You may benefit from joining a caregiver support group. Meeting other caregivers will help you identify resources and exchange ideas. Be sure to take care of yourself during this time. Read this article for more ideas and download our free caregiver eBook, A Caregiver’s Guide to Taking Care of You.

Profile of a Caregiver

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Topics: Senior Health, Caregivers, Care Managers

Developing an Attitude of Gratitude

Posted by Mary O'Hara on Nov 22, 2016 11:00:00 AM

Gratitude.jpgThanksgiving is the time of year when we express gratitude for all the good things in our lives. But did you know that there is scientific proof that maintaining an attitude of gratitudeall year long can be beneficial to your health?

According to Harvard Medical School, expressing thanks may be one of the simplest ways to feel better. Research conducted by Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of University of Miami, revealed some compelling facts about the importance that gratitude plays in determining attitudes.

In the study, one group wrote about things for which they were grateful that occurred during the past week, while the second group listed things that had irritated or displeased them. After ten weeks, the group that listed things they were grateful for felt much more positive and had a better outlook on their lives. They also experienced fewer visits to the doctor than the group who focused on their irritations and negative interactions.

Other studies have looked at how gratitude can improve relationships. For example, a study of couples found that individuals who took time to express gratitude for their partner not only felt more positive toward the other person, but also felt more comfortable expressing concerns about their relationship.

Appreciation of Others

We all experience stress in the workplace. Busy case managers and caregivers certainly have their share of work-related stress. People who spend a good amount of time caring for others may often neglect their own well being, and need to learn ways to enhance their sense of self.

Remembering to say “thank you” to others can go a long way in making somebody’s day. In fact, workers who receive appreciation from their managers on a regular basis report that they feel more motivated and positive about their jobs.

Benefits of Gratitude

There are many simple ways to develop a grateful attitude. Below are some scientifically proven benefits of gratitude:

  • Opens the door to more relationships
  • Improves physical health
  • Improves psychological health
  • Enhances empathy and reduces aggression
  • Better sleep
  • Improves self-esteem
  • Increases mental strength

Practice Thankfulness

Just like learning to replace unhealthy food choices with healthier options, we can also develop new habits to adapt our attitudes and cultivate gratitude. Here are some suggestions from Harvard:

Write a thank-you note. You can make yourself happier and nurture your relationship with another person by writing a thank-you letter expressing your enjoyment and appreciation of that person's impact on your life. Send it, or better yet, deliver and read it in person, if possible. Make a habit of sending at least one gratitude letter a month. Once in a while, write one to yourself.

Thank someone mentally. No time to write? It may help just to think about someone who has done something nice for you, and mentally thank the individual.

Keep a gratitude journal. Make it a habit to write down or share with a loved one thoughts about the gifts you've received each day.

Count your blessings. Pick a time every week to sit down and write about your blessings — reflecting on what went right or what you are grateful for. Sometimes it helps to pick a number — such as three to five things — that you will identify each week. As you write, be specific and think about the sensations you felt when something good happened to you.

Meditate. Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. Although people often focus on a word or phrase (such as "peace"), it is also possible to focus on what you're grateful for (the warmth of the sun, a pleasant sound, etc.)

Seeking Peace

Feeling grateful even for daily minor annoyances may be another way to deal with stress. For example, instead of being negative about a re-scheduled meeting, think of that extra time as an opportunity to give more thought about the contributions you can make or questions you may have during the meeting.

Small adjustments to one’s attitude can go a long way in seeking peace. According to an article by Anna Hart, “Replacing ‘I’m so stressed about this’ with ‘I’m so excited I get to do this’ has been a game changer for me….I think gratitude is an invaluable practice to any workplace since it also prevents us from taking co-workers for granted or harboring feelings of resentment,” she added.

Here at GA Foods, we are grateful to be of service to others, which is reflected in our core values of Touching Lives, Integrity, Trust, Ownership and Commitment.

As case managers and caregivers, you make many positive contributions everyday in helping others to live better lives and we are grateful for your dedication and commitment!

Happy Thanksgiving from the GA Foods Family!

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Topics: Senior Health, Caregivers, Healthy Meals for Seniors

Confessions from a Caregiver

Posted by Maureen Garner, MS, RD, LD on Nov 16, 2016 3:13:44 PM


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Pictured is Maureen and her children with her mother, Alice. (And by the way, it was Maureen's 43rd birthday!)

My Back Story

In 1992, we placed my dad in a long-term care facility. He was partially paralyzed from a stroke, and we couldn’t care for him at home. After a year of living apart from my dad, my mother asked to move in with me. Despite living in a senior living community, she was lonely. She was only 71-years old. She had some health issues and limited mobility, but she was completely independent. At the time, my husband and I had a 2-year old daughter and another baby on the way. I had a busy and demanding career. The thought of having another person in our home to help out was very appealing.

Download our free eBook, A Caregiver’s Guide to Taking Care of You

True Confessions

However, over the 18 years that she lived with us, her health steadily declined and she became more dependent. Fortunately, she was never to the point of needing help with activities like bathing or feeding, but we couldn’t leave her alone overnight. She needed us to drive her to doctors’ appointments. (No Uber, yet!) Simple activities like grocery shopping, attending church, or going out to dinner required wrestling her wheelchair into our car. We had to run her errands, like going to the bank or picking up prescriptions. There was constant fear that she would fall and break her hip. And she hated having to rely on us for everything.

Here is my confession – I didn’t make it easy for her. Between juggling my career, my family, and her needs, I was tired and exhausted. I resented her presence. Sometimes, I wanted to be alone with my husband and children for dinner. I wanted to be able to go away for a weekend with my family without having to make arrangements for my mom. I got tired of having to take time off work to take her to the doctor. And she knew how I felt about everything.

My mom never wanted to be a burden. So she asked a neighbor to take her shopping. She asked my kids to run her errands. She asked people from church to take her to the doctor. She visited my sister to give us time alone. And she tried to do anything she could to make life easier for me.

This made me feel guilty because now other people’s lives were being disrupted, not just mine. My neighbors, friends, and family shouldn’t be impacted to make my life easier. I should be able to do this on my own. She took care of me for over 18 years. As her daughter, it was now my responsibility to take care of her. And I could not have been more wrong.

No One is a Caregiver Superhero

My mom passed away five years ago after complications from hip surgery. (Yep, she fell and broke her hip.) I’ve had time to get some perspective, which leads me to my next confession – I’m not a caregiving superhero – actually no one is a caregiving superhero.             

Caregiving is hard. Caregiving comes from a place of love and can be rewarding, but it is hard. It is demanding. It is stressful. As a matter of fact, it is bad for your health. Studies have shown that caregivers are more likely to have a chronic illness than non-caregivers. Caregivers are at greater risk for depression and a decline in quality of life.

Caregivers aren’t limited to those caring for an aging, disabled, or ill family member. A caregiver can be a foster parent or a grandma raising her grandchildren. A caregiver can be a professional like a nurse, case manager, or social worker. A caregiver may provide full- or part-time care. They may live with the care recipient or provide care and support from a distance. The care may range from helping with tasks like shopping and cleaning to providing complex medical care.

The best advice I can give a caregiver is take care of yourself. Taking care of you isn’t selfish. It doesn’t mean you are a failure. It gives you the strength and energy needed as a caregiver. It actually helps you become a better caregiver.

I was fortunate -- I had great support from my sister. But if you or someone you know has caregiver burnout or is ignoring their own needs, download our free eBook, A Caregiver’s Guide to Taking Care of You.

Download eBook

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Topics: Senior Health, Caregivers, Care Managers

In Celebration of Older Americans Month

Posted by Ritch Brandon on May 4, 2016 11:00:00 AM

President John F. Kennedy issued a proclamation on April 18, 1963 designating the month of May as Senior Citizens Month, later to become known as Older Americans Month.

May's designation as Older American's Month has created a time for us all to pause and acknowledge the contributions of our most experienced citizens, particularly those who served and defended our country.  We at GA Foods have proudly served older Americans through Meals on Wheels programs since 1973.  And for over 15 years, the SunMeadow® brand has become a mainstay in the knapsacks and cargo pant pockets of U.S. troops on the move.  We are proud to take this time to pause and reflect on the accomplishments and contributions of those we serve.

President John F. KennedyThe average age of the seniors we serve is 78 years old.  Someone that is 78 was born in 1937 or 1938.  At that time, Franklin D. Roosevelt was the 32nd President of the United States, the Hindenburg crashed in New Jersey, and the Golden Gate Bridge opened in San Francisco.  Since then, our "average" senior has lived through the Attack on Pearl Harbor, WWII, the Korean War, the ratification of six amendments to the United States Constitution, the discovery of DNA, Brown vs. Board of Education, the development of the polio vaccine, the Vietnam War, the signing of the Civil Rights Acts of 1957, 1960 and 1964, the Cuban Missle Crisis, the assassinations of President Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Apollo 11's landing on the Moon, Watergate, Roe vs. Wade,  and eight different government administrations...and that was just in the first half of their lives so far!

The knowledge and wisdom that an entire generation has accumulated through those events is a national treasure.  For all of you who have "well experienced" adults in your lives, be it your parents, grandparents, other family or friends, we urge you to take the time in May to reach out and visit with this special person.  Listen to their stories.  Receive their wisdom and perspective on life.  Be there to lend support...even for "simple things" that are no longer quite so simple for them.

While GA Foods provides home delivered meals to older adults year-round, we will use May to focus on how older adults in our community are leading and inspiring others, how we can support and learn from them, and how we might follow their examples to blaze trails in our own lives.  We wish all "older Americans" great health and happiness!  

Wellness Resources for Olders Adults

Brain Health
Source: Administration for Community Living

Falls Prevention
Source: National Council on Aging

Go4Life Exercise & Physical Activity Campaign
Source: National Institute on Aging

Healthy Eating As We Age
Source: USDA

Long-term Care Planning
Source: Department of Health and Human Services

Older Adults and Oral Health
Source: National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research

Sleep and Aging
Source: National Institutes of Health

Discover OAM: Visit http://acl.gov/olderamericansmonth

Contact your Area Agency on Aging:
Visit http://www.eldercare.gov/ or call 1-800- 677-1116

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Topics: Senior Health, Caregivers

Senior Centers Impact Lives

Posted by Ritch Brandon on Jan 11, 2016 1:48:31 PM


We are so blessed.  Our team at GA Foods has the opportunity to serve some of the most grateful, needing, and loving people who are full of wisdom, spunk, and life.  We are regularly Junk_Mail_on_Vimeo.pngtouched by thank you notes, stories from our co-workers and the personal interaction we have with those we serve, particularly "our" seniors.  The following video is a beautiful window into the lives of those we love and serve.  

Be careful.  You will be moved.

 


98-year-old Mary moves us to tears

Mary is just like so many of the seniors we serve at congregate centers across the country.  She is, actually, one of the lucky ones who is not home-bound and unable to maintain the social bonds that senior centers provide to our sometimes forgotten neighbors.

 

If you were moved as much as we were, please share this post to remind others to visit their grandparents or support a local senior program.  


Do you have a story to share?

We would love to hear more stories about the impact your local senior center or Meals on Wheels program has had on a senior you know and love.  Please post any stories you are willing to share in the Comments section below.

Click here to learn more about GA Foods and how we nourish seniors.



 

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Topics: Senior Health, Food Assistance, Caregivers, Food Security Impact

Take a Minute (or even 10) for YOU in the New Year

Posted by Maureen Garner, MS, RD, LD on Jan 6, 2016 11:00:00 AM

caregiver_LR.pngLife can be stressful. It sometimes feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day, or even enough days in the month. It’s easy to stretch yourself too thin and forget about taking care of the most important person in your world—you. This is a particular problem for caregivers.

Whether you’re a parent with young children, taking care of a spouse or older parent, or are in a caregiving profession like nursing or care management, you probably feel that doing something for yourself is self-indulgent. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Taking care of yourself—on an inner as well as outer level—is a key part of being healthy and whole and able to care for someone else.

But how do you make time for yourself? You don’t have to carve out hours in your schedule. Take a moment wherever you find it. Just a few minutes here and there can have a big impact on your inner life and overall wellbeing. With that in mind, make a New Year’s resolution to take care of you! Here are several ways to be good to your self every day that only take a few minutes.

Learn how to say “no”

Saying “no” can be difficult, even when saying “yes” isn’t the best thing for you. When you’re a giving person, it’s all too easy to take on too much and find yourself overwhelmed, but taking on more commitments than you can reasonably handle doesn’t do anyone any favors. Saying “no” sometimes not only reduces your stress, it allows you to do a better job with the things you do say “yes” to.

Enjoy a cup of joe (or tea)

Sometimes the simplest pleasures have the most profound effect. If you find yourself rushing through the morning with your coffee cup in hand, or popping into the drive-through for a quick pick-me-up on the go—stop. Take ten minutes to sit down and really enjoy it. The world won’t end if you stop for ten minutes, but your stress level may certainly improve. Take a few deep breaths, let some tension go, and take the time to savor that morning drink. It will make the rest of your day look a lot brighter.

lower_stress_LR.pngSpend some quality time with your pet

Research shows that petting your dog or cat lowers your stress levels significantly. So take a few minutes each day to spend time with your four-legged friend if you have one.

Meditate

Just five minutes of meditation a day can have a significant effect on your health—both mental and physical. And contrary to popular belief, meditation doesn’t mean emptying your mind of thoughts or shutting them out. Instead it means sitting quietly and really being present in the current moment.

Here’s what to do: find a place where you have quiet for five minutes. Even the bathroom will do. Sit down in a comfortable position, close your eyes, relax, and simply pay attention to your breathing. Don’t try to stop your thoughts—trying to shut them away will just make them more insistent. Instead, notice them but don’t get caught up in them. Let them float across your mind and away like clouds in a sunny sky. If you find yourself following a thought, just let it go and bring your attention back to your breathing. Do this for five minutes.

Light a candle

Candles add a little warmth to the atmosphere, both literally and figuratively. A lit candle can add a little magic to an otherwise mundane setting, and a pleasantly-scented candle can have a real psychological effect. Choose a scent that evokes pleasant memories or peaceful feelings.

Read some fiction

Getting lost in a good story can be one of the great pleasures of life. It can take you away from day-to-day cares, or let you live vicariously through someone else. So grab a book. A few minutes reading here and there can be a welcome bit of relaxation for your mind.

Think you don’t have time to read? Try an audiobook. Most books now have an audio version available, so even if you’re often on the go you can take your story with you. You can listen in the car, on the bus, while you’re waiting in line, or any time you don’t need your mind actively engaged in something else, like when you’re doing household chores. And not only do you get the pleasure of a great story, you get the comfort of being read to like when you were a child.

Play it again, Sam

When you need a little pick-me-up, or you’re feeling down or even a little run-down, try putting on some music. Music affects your mood, so choose something that suits the state of mind you want to be in. If you need to slow down, choose something ambient and restful. If you need to get the housework done and you just can’t seem to get motivated, choose something upbeat.

Keep a journal

Journaling is not only a great stress reliever, it lets you look back later and see where you’ve been and how far you’ve come. You can pour your heart out to a journal without worrying about what anyone thinks—whether you’re happy, sad, or silly, just putting the words on paper often helps. And you don’t have to spend a long time doing it; a few minutes a day is plenty.

laughter_best_medicine_LR.pngLaugh

Laughter really is the best medicine. Take the opportunity to laugh whenever you can. Laughter doesn’t just make you feel better, it has an actual physical effect on your body. It releases feel-good chemicals and lowers your levels of stress hormones, which is good for your heart, your mind, and your overall health.

Being good to yourself doesn’t have to mean an afternoon at the day spa, or taking a whole day for yourself. While these things are nice, all the little moments also add up. A few minutes here and there can be good not just for you, but for everyone around you too.

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Topics: Reduce Stress, Caregivers, Stress

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