Care for the Caregiver

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November is National Family Caregiver month. Each year, caregivers are celebrated for their contributions and efforts in assisting others. This month also raises awareness for the stress caregivers experience while putting others before themselves. According to the Mayo Clinic, about 1 in 3 adults in the United States are caregivers, and a caregiver can be defined as anyone actively helping others. This includes family members providing for older adults. While the job is wonderful, selfless, and rewarding, many caregivers experience emotional and physical stress. They may feel overwhelmed, constantly worried and tired, have frequent headaches, gain or lose weight, deal with depression, and become easily irritated or angry. If you are a caretaker and are showing some of the symptoms below, it might be time to reenergize. Below are some tips to help manage some of the caregiver stress.

  • Focus on how you can assist and what care you are able to provide: No one can be there to help with everything all the time. The important thing to understand is that you are doing the best you can and shouldn’t feel guilty about not being the perfect caregiver.
  • Ask for and accept help: There is no shame in asking for others to assist you. Create a list of things others can do and let them decide on the task. For example, the helper could cook dinner one night, or run an errand. You never know who will lend a helping hand until you reach out.
  • Find support for yourself: Most communities have caregiver resources. Types of aid include support groups, caregiving services (transportation, meal delivery, etc.), and health professionals. Also, stay in touch with your family and friends. Your loved ones can offer emotional support without being judgmental.
  • Practice self-care: Sometimes there is nothing better than a hot bath after a long day. Set aside time each week to focus on yourself and relax. Go for a walk each night, read a book before bed, etc. It is important to create a good sleep routine, eat a healthy diet, and drink plenty of water. Don’t forget to be physically active at least three times during the week.
  • Talk to your doctor: Before starting, make sure you are up to date on vaccines and your yearly physical. Plus, this helps establish a deeper relationship with you and your physician. That way, whenever something occurs, or you need someone to talk to, your doctor is able to offer assistance.

In addition, establish a relationship between you, the care recipient and the care recipient’s physician. Most of the time, the caregiver takes the care recipient to doctors’ appointments. Because of this, the caretaker needs to be on top of medications and treatments. Creating this relationship allows for more communication and understanding of how to better provide for the care recipient. If needed, prepare questions before the appointments to make sure the caregiver understands the care recipient’s healthcare plan. Lastly, don’t be afraid to call nurses or doctors with any questions or concerns.

If you are a caregiver and feeling stressed, try some of these activities. Remember to take time for yourself and relax. After all, you can’t take care of others without taking care of yourself.

xoxo,

Megan

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Day 1: An Update

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Back in October, I gave a life update on the new journey I was taking. Now, several months later, I decided it was time to provide you with another update.

Life hasn’t truly gotten easier. In January, we had another health scare with my grandmother. At 84-years-old, she got the flu and pneumonia. Hearing the doctor say “she might become one that succumbs to the flu” scares you to death. The two weeks she was in the hospital was full of emotions and prayer. Thankfully, I’m happy to report she is now 85-years-old and went into her first store since December this past Tuesday. Let me tell you, that woman is as tough as nails.

As for my job with the magazine, due to recent budget cuts, my position was eliminated. Yes, I am sad, because this means a decrease in income each month, but I’m also comforted. I’m comforted in thinking that I’m on the edge of finding my passion and what I am meant to do. You may know that I’ve been in graduate school, getting my teaching degree. This past spring, I have been student-teaching and loved every minute of it. Those students were so inspiring and made me want to come to work every day. Along with teaching, I feel as if I will spend this summer and the months afterward doing more of what I love. God only knows where life will take me and I’m confident in His plans.

During October to December, I healed from the stress of my grandmother’s stroke and grief of my dog’s, Gidget, death. Now, I am using these summer months to heal and find myself. In these past few months, I have been grieving; grieving for things in life I may never have and grieving for things I’ll never have again. My depression and anxiety have taken hits in my daily life. Now, I’m going to heal.

Some say writing things publicly makes your commitment to them stronger. Whether that is true or not, I’m going to share the ways I want to heal. I want to write, I want to design, I want to read, I want to take pictures, I want to paint, and I want to go for walks. Darn it; I want to sit and watch a whole movie without doing anything else. To be honest, I can’t remember when the last time was I did some of the things listed above. Life has been busy, and I’m grateful for being given the opportunity to manage work, student teaching, and school. However, I’m ready to sit, listen, and heal.

“I’m choosing happiness over suffering. I know I am. I’m making space for the unknown future to fill up my life with yet-to-come surprises.” -Elizabeth Gilbert, author of “Eat, Pray, Love.” 

xoxo,

Megan

Link to “Day 1” post: https://metaylor.com/2017/10/06/day-1/ 

 

Self-Defense 101: What You Should Know

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Almost every day, we read or hear a story about a woman getting attacked and assaulted. According to research, assault on women is a common crime, because many assailants assume women are more passive and won’t fight back. However, there is one way to change the facts and statistics. One of the most important things a woman should know is self-defense and how to protect themselves in case they are in a horrible situation. Don’t know where to start? Read below for five important tips.

  1. Have a plan: A woman will always hope that she will never get into a situation where she needs to protect herself from violence. But, if it does occur, be prepared and have a plan on what moves and actions you should take. Create and practice your steps at self-defense classes or even with videos online. There are many martial arts studios, gyms, and personal trainers who offer self-defense classes. In fact, some communities hold events for women, at no charge, to learn the various moves. You don’t have to take a full class to know what to do. Finding self-defense moves on Google and YouTube will give you the basics. Also, part of your plan should be mentally preparing yourself if an attack should happen.
  2. Be alert: If you are alone in a public place, especially at night or on vacation, be smart and pay attention to your surroundings. Put down your cell phone and anything else that takes away your attention. If you think someone is following you, cross the street or step into a crowded place, such as a store or restaurant. Attackers usually will give off clear signals that they want to harm you. Most don’t begin with brutal force. Instead, they try coaxing into secluded areas, using excessive charm to manipulate you, refusing to accept rejection, and giving unsolicited help while expecting something in return, whatever makes the victim give up control.
  3. Follow your sixth sense: Also known as intuition, human beings are born with survival instincts, such as fight or flight. You are built with the ability to use your judgment and not to brush off your gut feelings. Trust your intuition and learn the differences between real fear and worry. If you ever feel as if something isn’t right, don’t second guess yourself. It is better to be safe than sorry. Get help immediately.
  4. Know your strengths and where to hit: You know when you accidently push someone with your elbow or get hit with theirs, how bad it hurts? Well, that is because your elbow is the strongest point on your body and your best weapon. If you are close enough to your attacker, use your elbow to push them away and go for the four weakest points: eyes, throat, groin, and knees. If you are pulled to the ground, kick your attacker with your legs in one of the four spots. Grabbed at the waist from behind, pinch the person hard under their arm, in the triceps, or in the upper inner thigh. In these spots, muscle can be easily pulled away from the bone, creating more pain, giving the victim time to get away. Similar to your elbow, the knee is a powerful tool and can be utilized wherever the attacker is in relation to you. Kick the inside of your attacker’s knee and they’ll immediately fall to the ground.
  5. Being choked? Use this move: The choke defense is good to use if you are smaller than the attacker. If you are being choked, don’t try to grasp their hands and pull them from your neck. Instead, form your hands into a “C” shape, with your thumbs beside your pointer fingers, and try to pull your attacker’s thumbs away. Try to kick them at the same time, as well. Once you managed to disengage the attacker’s thumbs, you’ll have time to fight back. Remember you only have 3 to 8 seconds before you start to lose oxygen and pass out.

Don’t be afraid to fight. Be confident in what you have learned from self-defense. Third-degree black belt and self-defense instructor Kelly Campbell encourages women to memorize and use the Cobra Kai code, if attacked: “Strike first, strike hard, strike fast, no mercy!”

xoxo,

Megan

 

11 Tips for Better Self-Care

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Recently, I have discovered the value of self-care. In the past few years, I did things that I considered to be self-care, but never truly understood the importance of taking care of yourself. Yes, I love to help others, but to effectively do so, I need to make sure I’m healthy and able first. Also, it is helpful for me to divide my self-care into “categories” of physical, mental, and emotional. That way, I can make sure all areas are covered. Below are some ways to fit self-care into your daily schedule:

Physical: 

  • Go for a walk
  • Dance
  • Swim
  • Play with a dog
  • Clean and reorganize a space in your home
  • Take a relaxing bath
  • Drink water

Mental: 

  • Read a book
  • Journal
  • Turn your phone OFF
  • Do a DIY project
  • Color
  • Take pictures
  • Take a long, deep breath
  • Watch an old movie

Emotional: 

  • Meditate
  • Practice yoga or exercise
  • Light a candle
  • Talk with a friend
  • Write down a list of things you’re grateful for
  • Take a nap
  • Bake cookies for a family member or friend
  • Donate or volunteer

Whether it is an hour or only five minutes, take time for yourself every day. Sometimes you have to make yourself a priority, in order to be a better person for the ones you loved.

xoxo,

Megan

5 Winter Skincare Tips You Should Know

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“Oh, the weather outside is frightful.” With temperatures freezing and below this week, many people head out doors bundled up from head to toe. While layers of clothes protect you from frigid weather, winter isn’t fun for your skin. This season is full of low humidity and dry air, making dry skin common. The tips below, useful for people of all ages, will help prevent your skin from drying out.
  • Take showers and baths in lukewarm water, not hot. Even wash your hands and face in a warm temperature, to avoid stripping oils from your skin.
  • Moisturize all the time. Especially, after any type of washing. I’m always slathering on lotion after my showers, because this practice helps allow the water’s dampness to further hydrate my skin. Also, apply a lotion or moisturizing balm before bed each night. Pay special attention to dryer areas, such as hands, feet, elbows, and knees where the skin is thin. Lastly, it is important to choose your moisturizers wisely. Dermatologists have found that an oil-based solution rather than water-based is better for your skin and helps retain more moisture.
  • Try using a humidifier in your home to prevent dry air from creeping in. This will also protect your skin.
  • Use an exfoliating mask on your face, hands, and lips to get rid of dead cells. Another option is exfoliating body washes. Always immediately moisturize your skin after using.
  • Drink water and hydrate your skin from the inside out. Balance your intake of hot beverages by adding in some H2O.
Keep these winter skincare tips in mind and win the winter skin battle.
xoxo,
Megan

A Look Back at 2017

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As I look back at another year, I realize 2017 was full of ups and downs. I started working towards my graduate certificate in middle grades education and are now getting ready to be in the classroom. I have been given excellent writing and leadership opportunities at Forsyth Magazines. There has been tons of love and laughter; however, there has also been a good deal of heartache.

My grandmother had a stroke back in September. Yet, praise the good Lord, she is now completely back to normal. I learned the reason why she had a stroke. It was to diagnose her cancer, which is now treatable with daily medicine. If we discovered the disease at a later time, who knows what would have happened. My doggie, Gidget, spent the year battling health problems. At 17 years old, she had her good and bad days, until she passed away in my arms in October. Lastly, I experienced my scariest morning and night. The morning was when I saw my grandmother have her stroke and waited for the ambulance to arrive. The scariest night was when Gidget passed away in my arms. I have never experienced that level of grief and I’m still processing my new life, months later.

2017 was a year of discovery. I learned more about the person I want to become and how I can help change the world. Gidget taught me more about love and how to believe in more than what I can see. Little signs related to her appear all the time and I know it isn’t coincidental. My anxiety and depression diagnosis gave me the chance to learn more about mental health and become an advocate for mental illnesses. It is okay to not be okay. I have a better understanding and grasp of what is going on in my mind and how to handle it. These struggles helped my family grow closer and man, are we stronger. Nothing is going to keep us down.

I’m ready for what 2018 holds, because I know 2017 has prepared me for whatever life throws at me. I am brave. I am strong. I am loved. Here’s to another year. God bless it.

xoxo,

Megan

 

 

7 Home Remedies to Use When You Are Sick

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I got a Christmas present I didn’t ask for you this year – a horrible cold. No one wants to wake up Christmas morning unable to breathe and coughing up a storm. However, after using these seven home remedies, I’m on the mend to feeling better.

  1. Salt Water – Gargling salt water can help prevent upper respiratory infections and decrease the severity of cold symptoms. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in a full glass of water. Swish around in month and throat. Then, spit it out.
  2. Warm Baths – Take a warm bath with Epsom salt and baking soda. Cold and flu symptoms and body aches can be reduced with the warm water. Also, try adding a few drops of essential oils for a soothing effects. Some options are: tea tree, juniper, rosemary, lavender, or eucalyptus.
  3. Heat Up Your Sinuses – Hold a hot pack or hot washcloth to your sinuses for a few minutes. Reusable hot packs can be purchased at drugstores. Be careful to not make the pack too hot.
  4. Honey – A spoonful of honey before bed helps decrease nighttime coughs.
  5. Cinnamon – Naturalists loved this spice, because of its healing effects, such as easing a dry or sore throat. Boil one teaspoon of cinnamon in a glass of water and drink. For an extra effect, mix it with pepper powder and honey.
  6. Take Vitamin C – You can get a dose of vitamin-C through a supplement or foods, such as citrus, green peppers, dark lefty greens, and kiwi fruit.
  7. Lemon – The acidic effects of lemons help eliminate bacteria from mucous membranes. Chopped one lemon into half and keep the skin on. Place in a boiling cup of water and let it steep for a few minutes. Inhale the steam.

Use these home remedies whenever you feel under the weather and you’ll feel better soon!

xoxo,

Megan

 

 

I Am

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I am strong. I am worthy. I am respected. I am loved. I am capable. I am.

Do you ever wake up in the morning and wonder how your day will go? Will something good happen? Something bad? Will you help someone on the street or be hurt by a friend?

It is only early afternoon and my morning has consisted of me sitting in the car for almost 4 hours. I’m waiting on my mom in the doctor’s office. A few weeks ago, she had her annual mammogram and was called back to the office for more tests. More tests. Those words scare the living daylights out of me. Knowing my family’s history with cancer, the phrase “more tests” often means there is something we need to worry about and that there will more waiting for test results.

As I sit here, typing this post and reflecting on the morning, I an constantly drawn back to my “I Am” motto above and how those words keep me going. Yes, the phrase “I Am” is the motto for the Invictus Game, created by Prince Harry, but they have also special meaning to me. Those two words paired with another give me the strength I need to take on the day. I am loved. I am worthy. I am strong. I am.

Whenever I begin to worry, I just repeat my motto and remember I can do this. If my mom does have breast cancer (and hopefully, she won’t), my family will battle it like we do any challenge – together. If you’ve been following along to the blog, you can easily tell that my life is in a whirlwind right now. However, my “I Am” motto helps me keep my balance. What is yours?

xoxo,

Megan

 

4 Beauty Products I Can’t Live Without

It is very rare for me to find a beauty product that I love and will use for a long time. My skin is fickle; it is oily one day and dry the next (thanks to my eczema). So, when I find a product with proven success, I love to share my enthusiasm and results! Here are my top 4 beauty products I can’t live without.

  1. Bio-Oil: This skincare product is great for scars, stretch marks, uneven skin tone, aging and dehydrated skin. It’s ingredients moisturizes and nourishes skin, leaving it soft and glowing.
  2. Target Up & Up Eczema Moisturizing Cream: I have eczema. Some days it is fine, while other days I feel like I want to scratch my skin off. For really bad flare ups, I use a prescription cream, but for everyday use my go-to is Target’s Up & Up Eczema Moisturizing Cream. It was just as great (if not better) than the Aveno type and has oatmeal in the ingredients.
  3. Biore Baking Soda Pore Cleanser: I have used baking soda and water to exfoliate my skin before. Love the results, but didn’t love the mess it made. So, when Biore came out with a baking soda cleanser, I knew I had to try it. Oh my goodness, I can’t tell you how much I love this product. It is great for washes and a great make-up remover. From using it, my face is shiner and healthier with little to no pores and blackheads.
  4. Vaseline Lip Therapy: I seem to also keep chapped lips, but with Vaseline Lip Therapy, my lips are smooth and hydrated. Plus, I use the Rosy Lips tin, which gives a slight rosy color to my lips. Perfect for the times you don’t want to use lipstick, but still want a little color.