Sunday, October 23, 2016

Wellness for Caregiver’s Stress - Release Relax, Rejuvenate

by Tracey A. Smith, M.Ed. CTRS

What do you do for you? How do you keep your vitality, balance and wellbeing while caregiving?  How do you balance your home, work, relationships and play? How do we deepen our sense of wellbeing and resiliency under an accumulation of stress? In a fast paced society, self-care is often not supported.

Caregivers have the responsibility of caring for another person’s wellbeing. This includes parents, teachers, therapists, clergy, medical professionals, and middle-aged children caring for elderly parents. As caregivers, it is essential to take the characteristics of Care and Giving and use it for our own self-care, for the role of caregiver includes some level of exposure to stress, compassionate fatigue, and traumatic experience on a daily basis.

Compassion fatigue is a process of cumulative exhaustion and the gradual erosion of our ability to care, brought about by the intense demands of caregiving without adequate balance and self-care. Stress affects the mind, body, and spirit. Every person’s stress and levels of burden are unique. How one copes with the symptoms of stress may vary.

Current and ongoing societal stressors can compound the life stress of the caregiver. These stressors can include experiences with racial and gender discrimination, stories of homelessness and violence, natural disasters, and widespread political unrest. Unaddressed, mounting stress can give way to feelings of hopelessness and decreased self-esteem, even leading to withdrawal from friends and family and those communities that help buffer us from burnout.

Dean Solon’s poem Here and Now speaks to the climate of stress during our current times. Encouraged by his perspective, here is an excerpt that I found particularly helpful.

be open to be allowing yourself to be encountering and engaging with these interesting times
be with attention and intention to be living with clarity and loving kindness
it is not time to be shutting down
this is the time to be opening to all that is
with mindfulness and heart fullness

There is hope. Wellness is a choice with the personal responsibility to address our stress. We can make a choice to practice loving kindness with ourselves. Healing and transforming stress and maintaining fitness of the mind, body and spirit involves lifelong learning. The better we take care of ourselves, the better we can care for others. How can we do this?

·      Reconnecting to ourselves and give attention to our well-being.
·      Increasing self-esteem with mindful self-care.
·      Recognizing that attention to self-care is not selfish.
·      Engaging in awareness of the present moment.

The three “R’s for caregiver stress are Release, Relax and Rejuvenate.

RELEASE feelings of guilt, fear and shame. Sometimes we think that we are the only provider of care for a person and may be unable to recognize the resources that are available, reluctant to use existing supports, or in need of new support systems. We may believe, “No one else can do it like me.” And maybe they can’t. But it is still essential that we step away to care for ourselves.  We can learn to allow another caregiver or professional to cover our duties or client while we caring for ourselves. We can begin to learn to combat these fears with our own spiritual fortitude and resilience. Healing Hints - Spend time doing enjoyable leisure and cultural activities, meditating, and participating in the expressive arts.

RELAX and begin to experience the art of doing nothing. Taking the time to learn mindful techniques to quiet mental chatter. It has been said that Mother Theresa took time off from caregiving for 4-5 years in-between service assignements to relax and allow time for healing.
Healing Hints – Create self-made retreats, practice affirmations, spend time with friends who make you laugh, play and have fun.

REJUVENATE movement, exercise, mind, body, spirit energy work can increase our vitality and well-being. Stress and compassionate fatigue have a way of settling in our body and cells. It is imperative to make time for fitness of our bodies.
Healing Hints - walking, pilates, reiki, dancing, sport activity.

Tracey A. Smith, M.Ed., CTRS, Owner Wellness W.R.K.S. LLC (well-being, recreation, knowledge, spirituality), is a Wellness Lifestyle Management Educator, Trainer, Certified Recreational Therapist. What I love about my life practice is the opportunity to serve a variety of populations and participants in an enjoyable fashion.  I provide workshops, trainings, and professional staff development. I create an atmosphere where participants can feel safe to explore their own issues of self-care and lifestyle management, while learning alternative ways of healing. I use Wellness Education and Recreational Therapy balanced with Restorative Practices to promote emotional, physical, mental, spiritual health and wellbeing. I am committed to promoting peaceable communities. To learn more and to schedule a program for your group, visit Tracey’s website [Insert link to:], Facebook page [Insert link to contact Tracey at ] or call her at 215-605-3221.

Raising Your Teen's Self-Esteem

by Katie K. May
You’re a concerned parent who has a teen with low self-esteem.
 You want your teen to feel confident enough to resist peer pressure.
 It breaks your heart to hear them make such negative comments about themselves when they look in the mirror.
 And, It’s painful to watch them fret over each blemish on their face and compare their bodies to those of their friends.
 You’re so afraid that they actually believe the critical thoughts they have about themselves and wonder how that will impact them.
 … will they give into peer pressure?
… will they make healthy choices or act impulsively to feel better in the moment?
… will today be a “good” day or a “bad” day and how will you manage the emotional roller coaster?
 If you’ve been telling your teen that they’re perfect and pouring on the compliments, you know that this just doesn’t work to change how your teen feels on the INSIDE.  What’s more, it may backfire and make them feel even worse. 
 Learn how to help your teen improve their self-esteem by focusing on the strengths that they already have!  Try my top three techniques for improving teen self-esteem here:
Help your teen do something that makes them feel confident each day.  Maybe this means playing a sport, but maybe it means reading a book.  Tune in to what your child’s strengths are and then encourage them to partake in activities that highlight these strengths.  In this way, your teens are gaining the experience of feeling confident in some way each day.
Help your teen reflect on what went well in each day.  Often times we ruminate on what went wrong and play it over and over again in our minds.  When you can help your teen begin to see what they are doing right in a day, it can rewrite that story.  What’s more, when you help them see how their specific actions helped to create these positive experience, it empowers them to continue to make positive choices that improve self-esteem.
Focus on the process and not the outcome.  Be mindful of how you talk to your teen about success and begin to really listen to how they talk about themselves in front of you.  Challenge any thoughts that are uttered aloud like, “I’m a mess” or “I can’t do it.”  Help them see that while they may not be able to meet a bigger goal YET, that when broken down into smaller steps while highlighting the progress, that they are capable of getting to where they want to be.
And, because it takes a village to support a family, try these tips from other amazing and skilled therapists in our community…
As a play therapist and creative counselor for teens, Elizabeth Campbell recommends finding the balance between independence and support to help build self-esteem.  "Adolescence is a time when teens are developing both independence and their concept of their identity, so it is very important for parents to support these in healthy ways! One option is for parents to recognize and reflect character qualities of their child rather than achievement," she says, "Another way is to toe the line of granting kids space to figure things out on their own while still maintaining appropriate boundaries. This helps teens to achieve a sense of self-efficacy in their efforts."
Jen Perry, therapist and Peaceful Parenting coach and shares her top tip for parents to, "Begin teaching their teen (and themselves!) about the connection between our basic human needs and our emotions. Negative emotions most often arise from basic needs for health, connection, and meaning not getting met. A sense of self-mastery and self-esteem naturally arises when we can train ourselves to identify the unmet need, meet the negative emotion with self-compassion and empathy, and take concrete steps to get the need met. This life skill can also be applied to relationships with others which can help teens begin to take things less personally in relationships and become skillful in helping others meet their needs as well. “Helping your teen look inward and be more aware of what they need in the moment, as well as joining with them to communicate this need can improve self-esteem and the parent child relationship.  
Finally, Clinical Social Worker, Kim Vargas reminds parents to point out the positives each day. "Self doubt and difficulty seeing positive aspects of self are hallmarks of the teen years. As a parent, you are in the unique position to boost your child's self esteem by being the storehouse of their positive traits and actions. At least once each day, try to point out a positive trait your teenager has, and a specific behavior you observed that day to support the trait. For example, mention to your teen that she has always been a generous person, and then note how she offered to come over to help her grandma fix her email problems."  By sharing what's going well, you can help your teen accumulate self-esteem day by day.


by Tracey A. Smith, M.Ed., CTRS  of Wellness WRKS,,, 215-605-3221

Alternative Therapies actually pre-date modern medicine. Ancient healing practices are ones that are
  • Non-evasive, Preventative in nature
  • Chemical free
  • Designed to provide the support your body needs to balance and heal itself
  • Treats the cause as opposed to suppressing the symptoms

What is integrative medicine?
Integrative medicine combines conventional medical care with alternative therapies.

Naturopathy (also known as naturopathic medicine or natural medicine) focuses on natural remedies and the body's vital ability to heal and maintain itself. Utilizing a holistic approach with minimal use of drugs and surgery.

Homeopathy is a form of alternative medicine that treats a disease with heavily diluted preparations that are thought to cause effects similar to the disease's symptoms

  1. Aromatherapy
  2. Massage Therapy – Sports, Swedish, Deep Tissue, Stone, Cranial Sacral
  3. Foot Reflexology / Ionic Foot Soak
  4. Acupuncture
  5. Acupressure/Emotional Freedom Technique
  6. Colonic Irrigations
  7. Reiki
  8. Hypnotherapy
  9. Hydrotherapy – Whirlpool/Jacuzzi, Steam Bath, Sauna
  10. Sound Healing- Tibetan Singing Bowls
  11. (Bach) Flower Essences, Elixirs
12.  Crystal / Gemstone therapy
13.  Pilates  
14.  Sahaja Yoga
15.  Hatha yoga, Hot Yoga, Laughter Yoga
16.  Homeopathy
17.  Ayurvedic
18.  Tai Chi
19.  Meditation
20.  Vegetarian
21.  Vegan
22.  Herbology
23.  Dietary Supplements / Vitamins
24.  Biofeedback/ SCIO
25.  EMDR
26.  Thought Field Therapy
  1. Color Light Therapy
  2.  Chakra Balancing
  3.  Chinese Medicine
  4.  Chiropractic
  5.  Ayurveda Remedies
  6.  Bioenergetics
  7.  Ozone Therapy, Far Infrared Red Therapy.
  8.  Body work – Raindrop Therapy, Body Wraps
  9.  Breath Work
  10.  Pet Therapy
  11.  Creative arts Therapy
  12.  Recreational Therapy
  13.  Occupational therapy
  14.  Music Therapy
  15.  Art Therapy
  16.  Dance therapy
  17.  Horticulture Therapy
  18. Creative Writing
  19.  Feng Shui
  20.   Prayer
  21.  Meditation
  22.  Angels
  23.  Ancestors
  24.  Fitness/Exercise/Sports
  25. Recreation, leisure activities and hobbies
  26. Chanting
  27.  Cassette tapes Cd’s DVD’s
  28.  Numerology
  29.  Mandela’s
  30.  Astrology
  31.  Guided imagery/Dreams
  32.   Labyrinths
  33. Amethyst mat therapy
  34.  Pendulums & Dowsing
  35.  Six sense – Intuition
  36.  Native American – Tools & Practices
       Sweat lodge, Drumming, medicine wheel, dream catchers, feathers smudging, Shaman
63. Nutrition, Weight loss, fasting - Metabolic, Vegetarian, Vegan


Monday, October 17, 2016

Here and Now

by Dean Solon

none of us has control over the world.
what is included on the earth-plane, where we are, is free will.
it is up to each one of us to be coming to his or her senses.

what each of us is capable of, and is to be working on and playing with, is an integrating of peace and passion.

this is a time of richness, of richness for each and all of us.
this is a time, and place, that is rich for practice.
there is so much to be working with, here and now.

don't be pushing away this world of activity and phenomena,
and don't be swallowing it whole.
be open to be allowing yourself to be encountering and engaging with these interesting times.
be with attention and intention to be living with clarity and with loving kindness.

this is not a time to be shutting down.
this is a time to be opening to all that is
with mindfulness and heartfulness.
this is a time to be awakening
and awake.

may peace be with you.