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Feb 28, 2010

Check out Six Ways to Overcome Devastation
by Terri Hall-Jackson
(the following is an adaptation from the article)
Taking the actions below helped me navigate those choppy waters...
Dr. Bach’s Rescue formula (Note from Jenny: this worked for me. I was surprised at how effective it was in reducing the fearfulness I felt in the days following cancer diagnosis.)
When under extreme stress, do not isolate. Reach out to people in whose presence you feel safe, or who you know can keep a confidence...Be open to receiving the comfort and care offered by those who care about you.
Everyday tasks are easily ignored when we’re mentally and emotionally overwhelmed...keep checking to see if you are hungry, thirsty, or tired; take care of these needs, plus personal hygeine and appearance.  
If you are able, exercise. The release of adrenaline and the boosting of serotonin in your system will help ease anxieties.
Crises test our faith; we may lose confidence...we may doubt that we will be okay. Now is a good time to pray, to pour out your heart, to be still and listen. According to your own leanings and beliefs, now is the time to pray, meditate, affirm.
Everyone goes through's part of being human. Be kind to yourself and know that the persistent intensity of your pain shall pass.

Jan 11, 2010
Information about stress in childhood
Childhood stress can be caused by any situation that requires a person to adapt or change. The situation often produces anxiety. Stress may be caused by positive changes, such as starting a new activity, but it is most commonly linked with negative changes such as illness or death in the family.
Stress is a response to any situation or factor that creates a negative emotional or physical change or both. People of all ages can experience stress.
In small quantities, stress is good -- it can motivate you and help you be more productive.
However, excessive stress can interfere with life, activities, and health. Stress can affect the way people think, act, and feel.
Children learn how to respond to stress by what they have seen and experienced in the past. Most stresses experienced by children may seem insignificant to adults, but because children have few previous experiences from which to learn, even situations that require small changes can have enormous impacts on a child's feelings of safety and security.
Pain, injury, and illness.

Medical treatments produce even greater stress.
Recognition of parental stress
e.g.divorce, financial crisis
Death or loss of a loved one.
=> Physical symptoms
=> Decreased appetite, other changes in eating habits
=> Headache
=> New or recurrent bedwetting
=> Nightmares
=> Sleep disturbances
=> Stuttering
=> Upset stomach or vague stomach pain
=> Other physical symptoms with no physical illness
=> Emotional or behavioural symptoms
=> Anxiety
=> Worries
=> Inability to relax
=> New or recurring fears (fear of the dark,
     fear of being alone, fear of strangers)
=> Clinging, unwilling to let you out of sight
=> Questioning 
=> Anger
=> Crying
=> Whining
=> Inability to control emotions
=> Aggressive behaviour
=> Stubborn behaviour
=> Regression to behaviours that are typical of an earlier developmental stage
=> Unwillingness to participate in family or school activities
Parents can help children respond to stress in healthy ways. e.g.:
=> Provide a safe, secure, familiar, consistent, and dependable home.
=> Be selective in the television programs that young children watch (including news broadcasts), which can produce fears and anxiety.
=> Spend calm, relaxed time with your children.
=> Encourage your child to ask questions.
=> Encourage expression of concerns, worries, or fears.
=> Listen to your child without being critical.
=> Build your child's feelings of self-worth.
     Use encouragement and affection.
     Try to involve your child in situations where he or she can succeed.
=> Try to use positive encouragement and reward instead of punishment.
=> Allow the child opportunities to make choices and have some control in his or her life. This is particularly important, because research shows that the more people feel they have control over a situation, the better their response to stress will be.
=> Encourage physical activity.
=> Develop awareness of situations and events that are stressful for children. These include:
  -- new experiences,
  -- fear of unpredictable outcomes,
  -- unpleasant sensations,
  -- unmet needs or desires, 
  -- loss.
=> Recognize signs of unresolved stress in your child.
=> Keep your child informed of necessary and anticipated changes such as changes in jobs or moving
=> Seek professional help or advice when signs of stress do not decrease or disappear.
An open, accepting flow of communication in families helps to reduce anxiety and depression in children. Encourage your children to discuss their emotions and help them discuss simple ways to change the stressful situation or their response to it.
Below are some tips that children can follow themselves to help reduce stress:
=> Talk about your problems. 
     If you cannot communicate with your parents,
     try someone else that you can trust.
=> Relax. Listen to calm music.
     Take a warm bath. Close your eyes and
     take slow deep breaths.
=> Take some time for yourself.
     If you have a hobby or favourite activity,
     give yourself time to enjoy it.
=> Exercise. Physical activity reduces stress.
=> Set realistic expectations. Do your best, and
     remember that nobody is perfect.
=> Learn to love and respect yourself.
=> Respect others. Be with people who accept
     and respect you.
=> Drugs and alcohol never solve problems.
=> Ask for help if you are having problems
     managing your stress.
original article: here.
related articles:
Childhood stress contributes to adult
Early Childhood Stress Has Lingering Effects On Health [ScienceDaily]
[C2NN] Abused Kids More Prone to Migraines in Adulthood
click here
Nov 23, 2009
Signs of Caring Too Much
(posted by Mel selected from
Compassion fatigue –aka caregiver burnout–is what happens when a well-intentioned caregiver crosses a hard-to-see line from One-Who-Helps to One-Who-Needs-Help. And it can happen to anyone. It happens precisely because you care so much. Are you at risk of caring “too much”? Here are ten warning signs:

1. You use words like “always” and “never” with regard to caregiving. These are 'absolutes', e.g.
I promised Mom we’d never put her in a nursing home; or
I’m sorry I can’t go to lunch because I always feed Sam by myself.
Being overly rigid can put you at risk for burnout.

2. Your friends seem to have stopped calling.
You may be feeling isolated or annoyed that your old circle no longer seems to check up on you and how you’re faring. But is it possible that you’ve turned them down so often because of your caregiving duties, or that caregiving concerns so dominate your life and conversation, that they got the message you’re just not interested in them? A social life is a two-way street.

3. The last time you felt happy was “uh…um…let’s see…”
Nobody ever said looking after a sick or aging loved one was a romp in a field of wildflowers. But if your everyday life has lost even its grace notes, so that you find no pleasure in it, you’re at risk. Every day needs at least one happy petal or two.

4. Everyone assumes you’ll step forward; nobody asks.
Have you become the default go-to girl (or guy) in your family?
When the sick person is your spouse, this is logical. (Even then, you need a support system to pitch in.) But it’s a different matter when the family member being cared for is a parent, grandparent, or other relative — and the entire burden of responsibility seems to have settled on your shoulders whether you’ve volunteered or not.

5. You’re overweight or out of shape.
True, it may not be your caregiving that’s to blame for poor health.It could be a long list from pollution to allergies to unfortunate genes. But the fact remains that poor self-care is a big red flag for caregiver burnout. Being selflessly focused on others by definition means you’re not focused on yourself. And yet you need to be the #1 person you look after, in order to be shipshape (or at least functional!) to look after others... give yourself permission to be selfish..

6. You can’t remember the last time you took a vacation...
Vacations are really hard when you have a disabled or impaired person to consider...not being able to even remember the last break you had is a sure sign you’re due for one. It doesn’t have to be three weeks in France. Start small if you must: a simple overnight at a friend’s house or a local B & B. To stop caregiving stress, stop caregiving sometimes...

7. All conversations turn to caregiving...
Maybe you remember when your kids were babies and you’d hire a babysitter–and proceed to talk about the kids all evening? Not a great idea. Or worse, you call home to check up! If every conversation with your partner or other family members concerns one subject, it’s a warning sign that topic is monopolizing your life. Diversify!..

8. You have no hobbies...
You say you have no time for hobbies? Your hobby doesn’t have to be a conventional one like stamp-collecting or bird-watching. It just needs to be an outlet away from caregiving. Reading trashy novels uninterrupted, taking up knitting, joining a book club, taking adult ed courses, being a matinee-movie addict, or enjoying your children and grandchildren all count, too–anything that takes you away from caregiving for bursts of time. Bonus points if it takes you out of the house, too...

9. You can’t sleep through the night...
Two common causes: You’re up tending to a sick person (or Alzheimer’s wanderer, or someone else who gets by on just a few hours of sleep a night) or you’re sick with stress or a physical problem yourself. A sleepless night or two go with the territory of caregiving–but if it’s become your lifestyle, it’s a problem you need to correct. Sleep isn’t optional!..

10. You dread waking up in the morning...
We all have this experience, usually when we’re in the midst of a health crisis that seems like a bad dream (but isn’t). Health nightmares can go on for years, unfortunately. But when the crisis has passed and you’ve sunk into a new routine–and you still feel heavy-hearted and hopeless, your body is crying out for you to enlist some support.

Nobody–not even the most well-intentioned, big-hearted, and selfless among us–is meant to endure a tough situation all alone, day after day, year after year...
............................................................................................................ was created to help you care for your aging parents, grandparents, and other loved ones. As the leading destination for eldercare resources on the Internet, our mission is to give you the information and services you need to make better decisions, save time, and feel more supported. provides the practical information, personal support, expert advice, and easy-to-use tools you need during this challenging time.  
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Posted: Nov 23, 2009 3:46pm


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Jenny Dooley
, 3, 2 children
Eastlakes, SW, Australia
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