Essential Self-Care for the Family Caregiver
Taking care of you so you can care for those you love.
Caregivers provide such an important service to the people they love. But as we push through the unending tasks and responsibilities, we can begin to feel stressed, frustrated, anxious, and depressed. We eventually reach our breaking point, but we keep going because the alternative is unthinkable.
This is what I call the the Caregiver's Dilemma.
We do what has to be done out of respect and love, but at great cost to our own physical health and mental well-being. The constant stress and feelings of overwhelm can lead to chronic illness, insomnia, job loss, and poor mental health. In the middle of dealing with the crises of our loved ones, we can end up in crisis mode ourselves.
I use “we” because I’ve been in your shoes. Does any of this sound familiar?
I was overwhelmed with sudden decisions that were far beyond my area of expertise
I constantly worried I would make a mistake or miss something that would hurt my loved one
I coped with my stress by overeating, binge-watching TV, and surfing social media - maladaptive behaviors that only left me feeling guilty and more overwhelmed than ever
The most frustrating, and sadly ironic part about the Caregiver's Dilemma?
These behaviors aren’t just unhealthy for us as caregivers, but also for the people we love.
When we are stressed, overwhelmed, or distracted by our problematic behaviors, we end up making mistakes. Maybe we forget to pick up the kids at school or make medication errors. We might get sick, leaving the people we care for without support. Our relationships can suffer, and we may even lose our jobs. We try to do it all, but eventually, something has to give.
This overwhelming cycle can seem impossible to step out of.
The great news is, there's a solution:
Now I know what you’re probably thinking. You don’t have time for this "woo-woo meditation stuff " when you’re dealing with life and death decisions and quality of life responsibilities on a daily basis.
That’s what I thought too, until I discovered a way of practicing mindfulness that fits seamlessly into my schedule. This method is specifically designed with the caregiver in mind to make mindfulness simple, easy, and accessible, even to the busiest and most overwhelmed among us.
With this approach to mindfulness, you create tiny, manageable habits called micro-practices. Micro-practices are small changes and short, simple meditations that help you maintain balance in stressful situations. These habits can also reduce our anxiety and prevent feelings of overwhelm.
Consider this: how much time each day do you spend on worry? Something needs to give, so why not kick worry to the curb? Replace your intrusive, unhelpful moments of worry with mindfulness practices that fit unobtrusively into your daily life. These little shifts in thinking can help you to better show up for those you’re caring for.
There is one affirming yet scary truth that all caregivers know:
You can’t be replaced.
Only you know exactly how much you do for your loved ones, how much they depend on you. And they need you to be healthy. You owe it to them, AND you owe it to yourself.
Join me for an online class with and for caregivers
Starting Wednesday, January 20, 1 PM PT, 3 PM ET
In this four-week online program with me as your guide, you will learn to use mindfulness to
- alleviate stress
- improve focus and communication
- become a healthier person and a better caregiver.
You won’t be alone here. You’ll be joined by other caregivers who understand what it’s like to be responsible for the health, safety, and wellbeing of a loved one.
We’ll do this work together so these micro-practices become part of our self-care plan. (We put what we learn to use NOW because we all know “later” won’t happen.)
At the end of the course, you'll have a toolkit of simple practices you can turn to when you need relief from the day-to-day stresses. You will learn to bring forward your innate sense of compassion and care, for yourself and for your loved ones.
Janet Fouts is amazing. She created such an amazing training environment – full of learning, discussion, and actionable items. She is skilled, knowledgeable, and also a wonderful people person. I really enjoyed learning from her and will hopefully take another course with her again.
About the program
Throughout the program, you’ll gain tools to take better care of yourself day-to-day, which will help you as well as the person or people you are caring for.
You’ll learn micro-practices that you can use anywhere, anytime to soothe your heart and mind.
You will learn to be more resilient, able to better manage your time and handle the daily issues (crisis) with a calmer head.
Most of all, you’ll find your way to a happier, healthier you!
Our four sessions are interactive. There is a lecture component as well as discussion one-on-one with other carers. We address “micro-practices” in specific detail, and each week will end with a downloadable worksheet with highlights from the lesson. You can immediately put to use the practices we discuss each week.
Session 1: Intro to Mindfulness
We’ll explore what mindfulness is and how it can help us manage stressful situations with a calmer, more resilient mindset.
You’ll come away with specific ways to manage your emotions and time more effectively so you can be less stressed and have time to take care of others as well as yourself!
Session 2: Managing Triggers
Emotional reactivity (triggers) can affect how we react to, well, everything! Learn to see the natural negativity bias we all have, what it does, and how it alters the way we see the world.
Learn resources that nourish your spirit and strengthen your heart, bringing out your innate inner kindness, and helping you to respond rather than react to issues that arise.
Session 3: Finding balance
Sometimes it feels there is nowhere to turn. The busier we get, the more we feel abandoned and overwhelmed with all the to-dos. We’ll discuss strategies to help us reduce the “gotta dos” and really look at where we are right now, as well as where we need help.
This session is all about taking a closer look at our big picture. We’ll work on understanding how to create and work within a support structure that can help us manage life and still enjoy it.
Session 4: Rediscovering Joy
Finding our source of joy–especially in the difficult times–is a critical tool for caregivers. Our days are eaten up with long hours of waiting, exhaustion that snuffs out even a spark of happiness, and suffering that others can’t even imagine.
We’ll dig into the neuroscience of changing our brains through positive experience. Then we will strategize on how to move forward with confidence and resilience.
Sign up today to become a healthier and more resilient caregiver!
What's included when you register:
- 4 weekly 1 hour interactive learning sessions on mindfulness and emotional intelligence.
- Downloadable e-book on working with emotional triggers
- Opportunity to connect with other caregivers in a safe space
- Weekly workbook with links to additional resources
- Customizable strategy for taking care of your own wellbeing so you can better care for those you love
When you sign up for this course you're taking the first step toward a more resilient and happier you. You'll participate each week with other family caregivers who want to take care of themselves AND those they love.
When you sign up for this course you're taking the first step toward a more resilient and happier you. You'll participate each week with other family caregivers who want to take better care of those they love by taking better care of themselves.
I look forward to joining you on your journey as a caregiver and providing you with new resources to make your experience easier, healthier, and more manageable. I understand the unique challenges that come from being a caregiver. I am ready to help you discover the strength you have inside you to care for yourself too!
Don't put off your own care any longer, you owe this to yourself and those you love!
About Janet Fouts
Janet believes deeply in the value of self-awareness and mindful attention to self-care and teaches mindfulness and emotional intelligence online as well as in person. She earned her certification as resilience and coping facilitator from the National Wellness Institute and is a Life and Mindfulness Coach.
She trained with the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute to teach mindfulness and emotional intelligence, UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center in their Mindful Awareness Practices program, Dr. Rick Hanson's Positive Neuroplasticity Practitioner program, and Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE).
Her journey as a caregiver inspired the transition from tech company CEO to mindfulness teacher after discovering the value of mindfulness and emotional intelligence in rescuing her from depression and anxiety.