Posts Tagged self care

[Guide] BIOFEEDBACK AT FOR DEPRESSION – Full Text PDF

Abstract

This guide describes a sampling of these at-home biofeedback assistive technology (AT) devices that may help users better understand, interpret, and manage depressive effects that involve your brain, heart, and muscles. Biofeedback AT devices are designed to assist with monitoring and voluntarily controlling certain mental and physical functions such as increasing mental focus, regulating breathing, or relaxing muscles to get brainwaves, heartrate, and muscle tension levels back to normal intensities.

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[BLOG POST] Take Care of Yourself for the Holidays – Collection Spotlight from the National Rehabilitation Information Center

Take Care of Yourself for the Holidays

 

The hustle and bustle of the holidays can be stressful. We may feel like we have so much to do with work, travel, hosting guests, and finding the right gifts for the people we love. If you are a person with a disability, or if you are caring for a person with a disability, you may find that the stress is taking its toll on your mental and physical health.

Self-care is any activity that you do deliberately to take care of your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Acts of self-care can include taking yourself to lunch or  a massage, accepting or declining an invitation to a gathering, or saying “no” to a request that can be handled by someone else. By taking care of yourself, you will be better able to care for those around you.

Self-Care for Self-Advocates

For some people with disabilities, mindfulness can be a self-care strategy (PDF), according to the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Pathways to Positive Futures. Mindfulness meditation heightens awareness about one’s mental and physical experience, and that awareness can be channeled into identifying opportunities to reduce stress and care for the body and mind. Journaling is another way to be mindful of how you are feeling, and Journaling – A Wellness Tool from the Center for Health and Self-Directed Care can get you started. You may also consider reaching out to your community for advice and support. The National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities has articles packed with advice from parents with disabilities on where they can turn for help in their communities.

Self-care may include making time to exercise or to spend time with family. The National Center on Health, Physical Activity, and Disability offers many articles and resources for individuals and caregivers, like this 35-minute inclusive yoga video. The RRTC on Community Living and Participation for People with Serious Mental Illness has several guides and tools to encourage physical activity and leisure and family time.

While self-care is much more than a bubble bath, a long soak can be an act of self-care. Spending some time taking care of your skin, hair, and other areas may be how you choose to show yourself some loving attention. AbleData offers examples of assistive technology that can help with grooming and caring for your physical appearance.

Self-Care for Caregivers

Research has shown that more than half of caregivers in the US provide 40 or more hours a week of care for a family member or friend with a disability, including aging parents and young children with disabilities. They often provide care on top of working full time. It can all take a toll, mentally and physically. The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Learning and Working During the Transition to Adulthood’s factsheet points out that For Families or Caregivers: Self-Care is Putting on YOUR Oxygen Mask First (PDF). “If you do not take care of yourself, you cannot help others. Being the caregiver for someone with a mental health challenge can be very difficult, but you must take a little time for yourself. Self-care can start with just 5 minutes a day!”

When one is in the middle of providing care, it may be challenging to stop and consider your own health. The Caregiver Self-Assessment Questionnaire, originally developed and tested by the American Medical Association, offers an online assessment for caregivers to help them make decisions about their own behavior and health risks. The Family Caregiver Alliance’s National Center on Caregiving offers many supports for families caring for a person who is aging or has a disability, such as this article Taking Care of YOU: Self-Care for Family Caregivers. The Department of Veterans Affairs Caregiver Support program has a Self-Care Assessment and Daily Attention Diary which includes a daily attention diary and a post-month self-care reflection. The diary offers an extensive list of signs and symptoms of caregiver stress, along with hundreds of suggestions for stress relief activities. Any caregiver can use the diary to track signs and symptoms of stress and address their self-care needs.

Respite care can be a self-care option for caregivers. Respite care programs provide a short-term relief for primary caregivers – an afternoon, a few days, or up to a week. Respite care can happen at home, in a respite facility, or in an adult day center. Contact a Center for Independent Living in your community or visit the Eldercare locator to find out about respite services in your community.

During this busy, stressful time of year, we hope you can give yourself the gift of self-care, in whatever form you need.

 

via Take Care of Yourself for the Holidays | Collection Spotlight from the National Rehabilitation Information Center

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[Webinars] Latest Reeve Foundation Webinar Series Focuses on Self-Care for Caregivers

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The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is hosting a three-part webinar series on self-care, managing anxiety, and mental health in December and January.

These webinars are produced as part of the Paralysis Resource Center’s community education initiative. The webinars are for those caring for a loved one or individuals living with paralysis.

Webinar 1 – The Art of Managing Anxiety and Worry: Behavioral Strategies will take place Tuesday, December 3, at 2 PM ET

Webinar 2 – Mental Health and Self-Care for Caregivers: Beyond Finding the Time will take place Thursday, December 12, at 2 PM ET

Webinar 3 – Using Mindfulness to Support Life After Paralysis: Strategies to Increase Mindfulness will take place Wednesday, January 8, at 2 PM ET.

“Taking time to find a self-care routine to help manage anxiety and stress and being mindful of your surroundings is an important step for quality of life and overall well-being,” says Angela Cantillon, Director of Operations, Paralysis Resource Center, in a media release from the Reeve Foundation.

“We think these webinars will help individuals find ways to reduce worrisome thoughts, find new techniques to navigate daily life, and encourage healthy habits.”

All three sessions will be hosted by Terry Gupta, MSW, C-IAYT, E-RYT500, YACEP, who, along with her partner Jay Gupta, RPh, MSc, MTM Specialist, C-IAYT, are co-Founders of www.YogaCaps.org and www.RxRelax.com.

Visit the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation for more information.

[Source(s): Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, PR Newswire]

 

via Latest Reeve Foundation Webinar Series Focuses on Self-Care for Caregivers – Rehab Managment

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[BLOG POST] Self-care for the caregiver – Harvard Health Blog


Contributing Editor

Caregiving can be physically and emotionally exhausting. Whether you are in the profession of caregiving or taking care of a loved one, it is important to remember to recharge your batteries. For family members, caregiving can also lead to additional pressures, such as financial strain, family conflict, and social withdrawal. Over time, caregiver stress can lead to burnout, a condition marked by irritability, fatigue, problems with sleep, weight gain, feelings of helplessness or hopelessness, and social isolation.

Caregiver burnout is an example of how repeated exposure to stress harms mental and physical health. Chronic stress triggers a release of stress hormones in the body, which can lead to exhaustion, irritability, a weakened immune system, digestive distress, headaches, pains, and weight gain, especially in the midsection of the body.

Your body does have a natural way to combat stress. The counter-stress system is called the “relaxation response,” regulated by the parasympathetic nervous system. You can purposefully activate the relaxation response through mind-body practices like yoga, tai chi, meditation, and deep relaxation techniques.

5 ways to care for yourself if you are a caregiver

1.   Self-compassion is essential to self-care.

Being kind to yourself builds the foundation to self-care. Self-compassion means giving yourself credit for the tough, complex work of caregiving, stepping away from the self-critical, harsh inner voice, and allowing yourself time — even if it’s just a few minutes a day — to take care of yourself.

Lack of time or energy can make getting that time away particularly challenging. You may even feel guilty or selfish for paying attention to your own needs. What you need to know is this: in fact, practicing self-care allows the caregiver to remain more balanced, focused, and effective, which helps everyone involved.

2.   Practice simple breath awareness for 10 minutes a day.

One of the simplest deep relaxation techniques is breath awareness. We go over breath awareness, paced breathing, and other breath techniques in The Harvard Medical School Guide to Yoga. Here is one you can try:

  • Find a comfortable seated position on a chair or cushion.
  • Close your eyes and begin to notice your breath.
  • It is common to have distracting thoughts come and go, but just let them pass, and gently bring your attention back to your breath.
  • Breathe in slowly through your nose for five counts, hold and pause for five counts,* and exhale for five counts.
  • Continue for 10 minutes. You may substitute phrases for the counts such as:

I breathe in calm and relaxing energy.

I pause to let the quiet energy relax my body.

I breathe out and release any anxious or tense energy.

  • For deeper relaxation, gradually extend your exhalation, until you reach an exhalation twice the length of the inhalation (10 counts).

*Breathing exercises should not be painful or uncomfortable; if holding your breath is uncomfortable, just eliminate the pause between the inhalation and exhalation.

3.   Try a mind-body practice like yoga, tai chi, meditation, and deep relaxation techniques.

Mind-body practices not only build physical health, but also deepen the awareness and connection between the mind and body. Yoga has been shown to reduce stress in caregiving groups, like family of those with Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. We describe yoga breathing, poses, and meditation techniques in The Harvard Medical School Guide to Yoga.

Mindfulness meditation and deep relaxation techniques can reduce stress. Guided audio meditations are available online:

4.   Make eating well and getting quality sleep priorities.

It’s easy to forget about your own meals and needs when trying to help others. Maintaining adequate sleep and nutrition are key to preventing caregiver burnout. Build a daily 10-minute nighttime routine to achieve more restful sleep. Your nighttime routine can include your breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga poses. Missing meals can lead to irritability and fatigue, so it is important to eat regularly scheduled meals throughout the day.

Nutrition can also be an important factor to prevent burnout. Chronic stress has been linked to increased inflammation in the body, so it is helpful to avoid foods that are processed or high in refined sugars, which increase inflammation in the body. Avoid or reduce alcohol, since alcohol both increases inflammation in the body and disrupts quality of sleep.

5.   Remain socially connected. Find support through local caregiver support groups.

While it can be difficult to keep social appointments with friends and family in the face of medical caretaking, it is important to maintain social connections to feel less isolated and prevent burnout.

Realizing that you’re not alone and that others are going through similar experiences nurtures your ability to be self-compassionate. Hospitals and local organizations often offer caregiver support groups for family and caregivers.


Dr. Marlynn Wei is the keynote speaker at South County Hospital’s Women’s Wellness Day at the Newport Marriott on Saturday, October 27, 2018. She will offer self-care tips to relieve caregiver stress and prevent caregiver burnout.

via Self-care for the caregiver – Harvard Health Blog – Harvard Health Publishing

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[BLOG POST] What I Want Others to Understand about Depression

Woman walking away on a bridge to better understand her depression

The Issues with Depression

Depression can be difficult to talk about and even more difficult to explain. Depression is different for everyone and challenging to deal with especially when the symptoms conflict with completing everyday tasks. It can be debilitating and paralyzing, prohibiting you from doing what you usually do on a daily basis.

Understanding depression can be frustrating for both the person who struggles with it and those around them. It takes patience, kindness, love, empathy and compassion to be able to heal with that person as they understand themselves in their mental hardships.

Understanding Depression: An Amplification of a Negative Self-Image

Depression makes negative emotions extreme. If you feel down, depression will maximize your thoughts in ways that will remind you a million more reasons why you’re not good enough or why you can’t do something. Feeling lonely? Depression will tell you that no one cares. If you feel hopeless, or angry, or anxious, depression will amplify those feelings and convince you that you deserve to feel that way. It makes everything your fault. Depression, however, is what’s wrong, not you. If you’re in a state of any type of depression, understand that amplification of negative self-talk.

While depression is different for everyone depending on their circumstances and triggers, a low sense of self does not allow them to heal or recover quickly. It takes time and constant self-work to not fall under the assumptions and hopelessness of depressive thoughts, but you have power.

To the ones who Struggle: Lean Toward Recovery and Self-Care

Tell yourself, and show yourself that those amplified horrible assumptions are not you. You are good enough, strong enough, and brave enough to say no to the depression. Train your mind to see the opposite of those false thoughts. Be active in your healing. Talk sense to your strength in order to wage war on your depressive thoughts. Don’t fall in the slums of your mental struggle. When you feel yourself sinking, allow yourself to float. Just let go. Your tense response to depression is making you sink, rise above it. Rise above your thoughts with all of your power. You can fight back. You are brave.

To the Loved ones of People who Struggle with Depression: Listen to them

Depression can be difficult to talk about especially when the depression itself is telling you that no one cares. If you notice or see depressive symptoms in someone you know or love, talk to them and let them know that they are noticed and loved. Allow for them to be honest, if that’s what they want to do, and if they talk negatively about themselves reassure them that they are good enough, strong enough, and that you care about them. How they might respond depends on how they are feeling, but being unconditionally loving and present allows them the space to reach out if they want to talk or ask for help.

Although it depends on the person and whether they want help or not, little gestures of compassion and caring will go a long way. Know who they are and what they like. Be present and aware. Be conscious and awake. Try your best. There is also suggesting professional help or therapy for them as well.

Since depression is so ambiguous and diverse depending on the person who has it, it’s all up to understanding the person and who they are. Healing for them is individual and you can be a part of that healing.

 

via What I Want Others to Understand about Depression – BayArt

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[Abstract] KinoHaptics: An Automated, Wearable, Haptic Assisted, Physio-therapeutic System for Post-surgery Rehabilitation and Self-care – Springer

Abstract

Journal of Medical SystemsA carefully planned, structured, and supervised physiotherapy program, following a surgery, is crucial for the successful diagnosis of physical injuries. Nearly 50 % of the surgeries fail due to unsupervised, and erroneous physiotherapy. The demand for a physiotherapist for an extended period is expensive to afford, and sometimes inaccessible. Researchers have tried to leverage the advancements in wearable sensors and motion tracking by building affordable, automated, physio-therapeutic systems that direct a physiotherapy session by providing audio-visual feedback on patient’s performance. There are many aspects of automated physiotherapy program which are yet to be addressed by the existing systems: a wide classification of patients’ physiological conditions to be diagnosed, multiple demographics of the patients (blind, deaf, etc.), and the need to pursue patients to adopt the system for an extended period for self-care.

In our research, we have tried to address these aspects by building a health behavior change support system called KinoHaptics, for post-surgery rehabilitation. KinoHaptics is an automated, wearable, haptic assisted, physio-therapeutic system that can be used by a wide variety of demographics and for various physiological conditions of the patients. The system provides rich and accurate vibro-haptic feedback that can be felt by the user, irrespective of the physiological limitations. KinoHaptics is built to ensure that no injuries are induced during the rehabilitation period. The persuasive nature of the system allows for personal goal-setting, progress tracking, and most importantly life-style compatibility.

The system was evaluated under laboratory conditions, involving 14 users. Results show that KinoHaptics is highly convenient to use, and the vibro-haptic feedback is intuitive, accurate, and has shown to prevent accidental injuries. Also, results show that KinoHaptics is persuasive in nature as it supports behavior change and habit building. The successful acceptance of KinoHaptics, an automated, wearable, haptic assisted, physio-therapeutic system proves the need and future-scope of automated physio-therapeutic systems for self-care and behavior change. It also proves that such systems incorporated with vibro-haptic feedback encourage strong adherence to the physiotherapy program; can have profound impact on the physiotherapy experience resulting in higher acceptance rate.

Source: KinoHaptics: An Automated, Wearable, Haptic Assisted, Physio-therapeutic System for Post-surgery Rehabilitation and Self-care – Springer

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[ARTICLE] Machine-Based, Self-guided Home Therapy for Individuals With Severe Arm Impairment After Stroke

Abstract

Background: Few therapeutic options exist for the millions of persons living with severe arm impairment after stroke to increase their dose of arm rehabilitation. This study compared self-guided, high-repetition home therapy with a mechanical device (the resonating arm exerciser [RAE]) to conventional therapy in patients with chronic stroke and explored RAE use for patients with subacute stroke.

Methods: A total of 16 participants with severe upper-extremity impairment (mean Fugl-Meyer [FM] score = 21.4 ± 8.8 out of 66) >6 months poststroke were randomized to 3 weeks of exercise with the RAE or conventional exercises. The primary outcome measure was FM score 1 month posttherapy. Secondary outcome measures included Motor Activity Log, Visual Analog Pain Scale, and Ashworth Spasticity Scale. After a 1-month break, individuals in the conventional group also received a 3-week course of RAE therapy.

Results: The change in FM score was significant in both the RAE and conventional groups after training (2.6 ± 1.4 and 3.4 ± 2.4, P = .008 and .016, respectively). These improvements were not significant at 1 month. Exercise with the RAE led to significantly greater improvements in distal FM score than conventional therapy at the 1-month follow-up (P = .02). In a separate cohort of patients with subacute stroke, the RAE was found feasible for exercise.

Discussion: In those with severe arm impairment after chronic stroke, home-based training with the RAE was feasible and significantly reduced impairment without increasing pain or spasticity. Gains with the RAE were comparable to those found with conventional training and also included distal arm improvement.

via Machine-Based, Self-guided Home Therapy for Individuals With Severe Arm Impairment After Stroke.

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[ARTICLE] Machine-Based, Self-guided Home Therapy for Individuals With Severe Arm Impairment After Stroke

Abstract

Background. Few therapeutic options exist for the millions of persons living with severe arm impairment after stroke to increase their dose of arm rehabilitation. This study compared self-guided, high-repetition home therapy with a mechanical device (the resonating arm exerciser [RAE]) to conventional therapy in patients with chronic stroke and explored RAE use for patients with subacute stroke.

Methods. A total of 16 participants with severe upper-extremity impairment (mean Fugl-Meyer [FM] score = 21.4 ± 8.8 out of 66) >6 months poststroke were randomized to 3 weeks of exercise with the RAE or conventional exercises. The primary outcome measure was FM score 1 month posttherapy. Secondary outcome measures included Motor Activity Log, Visual Analog Pain Scale, and Ashworth Spasticity Scale. After a 1-month break, individuals in the conventional group also received a 3-week course of RAE therapy.

Results. The change in FM score was significant in both the RAE and conventional groups after training (2.6 ± 1.4 and 3.4 ± 2.4, P = .008 and .016, respectively). These improvements were not significant at 1 month. Exercise with the RAE led to significantly greater improvements in distal FM score than conventional therapy at the 1-month follow-up (P = .02). In a separate cohort of patients with subacute stroke, the RAE was found feasible for exercise.

Discussion. In those with severe arm impairment after chronic stroke, home-based training with the RAE was feasible and significantly reduced impairment without increasing pain or spasticity. Gains with the RAE were comparable to those found with conventional training and also included distal arm improvement.

via Machine-Based, Self-guided Home Therapy for Individuals With Severe Arm Impairment After Stroke.

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[ARTICLE] Machine-Based, Self-guided Home Therapy for Individuals With Severe Arm Impairment After Stroke

…Discussion. In those with severe arm impairment after chronic stroke, home-based training with the RAE was feasible and significantly reduced impairment without increasing pain or spasticity. Gains with the RAE were comparable to those found with conventional training and also included distal arm improvement…

via Machine-Based, Self-guided Home Therapy for Individuals With Severe Arm Impairment After Stroke.

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