How to be Grateful During Difficult Situations

By Carol Combs, MSW, Oxford’s Memory Care Program Coordinator

Dealing with a chronic illness or being a full time caregiver is stressful and exhausting, but it is also a time you can be grateful.

My mother always said, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.”

I remember times in my life when I thought He was really pushing my limits!

You can’t hide, ignore or bury the challenges you face, but gratitude can help put things in perspective. Gratitude reduces stress, improves your mood, strengthens relationships, and in general, makes us happier. Gratitude helps us realize what we have. It doesn’t come naturally, but is a chosen attitude through life’s challenges.

So, how do you have gratitude? Try these tips:

  1. Recognize you aren’t alone: Everyone deals with difficult situations. Put things in perspective by reminding yourself, “Well, we could be dealing with ______.” Or, “At least we have _______.”
  1. Focus on the positives: Acknowledge the hurt, loss, exhaustion or difficulties, but take a moment to focus on one good thing about today or something you appreciate about someone.
  2. Keep a journal: Every day, write down one or two things you are grateful for and why. Writing out your feelings can help relieve anxiety and stress.
  3. Ask yourself: “What can I learn from this; and, when I look back on this without emotion, what will I be grateful for?”
  4. Count your blessings: Focus on something good in your life, even if it’s only for a few minutes each day.

It takes effort to reframe your view of life, especially when experiencing stress and exhaustion. Gratitude can help your outlook, but it doesn’t eliminate the need for emotional support, education and practical hands on help. Seek out the help you need and accept it when offered.

Oxford offers a wide variety of supportive services and care in the home. If you would like to explore options for care, please contact one of our Care Coordinators.

Source: Elizabeth Heerema, MSW, About.com newsletter

 

How to Keep Your Cool in Hot Weather

By Pam Gennings, Executive Director Special Projects

Summer is here, and it’s hot!

Even young and healthy people can get sick from the heat if they participate in strenuous activities during hot weather. However, those at the greatest risk of heat-related illness are:

  • The elderly
  • The very young
  • Those with chronic diseases or mental illness

The body’s ability to cool itself during extremely hot weather is affected by:

Humidity: When the humidity is high, sweat will not evaporate as quickly. This prevents your body from releasing heat as fast as it may need.

Personal factors: Age, obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn, prescription drugs and alcohol use may all play a role in a person’s ability to adequately and safely cool off enough in hot weather.

To help prevent heat-related illnesses, injuries or deaths during hot weather, consider the following:

  • Air-conditioning: the number one protective factor against heat-related illness and death is air-conditioning. If you or someone you know does not have air-conditioning, spending time in public facilities that have air-conditioning can reduce the risk of heat-related illness.

 

  • Fluids: drink plenty of fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as they promote dehydration.

 

  • Being outdoors: schedule outdoor activities carefully, and pace yourself.

 

  • Clothing: wear loose, lightweight, light colored clothing. Cotton clothing will keep you cooler than synthetics.

 

  • Sunscreen: always wear sunscreen to protect your skin!

 

  • Water: it’s not just for hydration—cool showers or baths are a great way to cool down.

 

  • Rest: be careful not to over exert yourself.

 

  • Pay attention: do NOT leave pets or children in cars!

 

  • Use common sense: if the heat is intolerable, stay indoors in the air-conditioning as much as you can.

 

Excerpts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention