Balancing Caregiver Guilt

You can’t do it all. It’s not your fault!


So often, it’s coulda/shoulda with caregivers. No matter how much they do, they seem to feel as though it’s never enough– perhaps because our loving inclination is to try to heal or solve the problems our loved one is having. Even though we know that we can’t do it, there is always that nagging feeling that you might be able to if only you’d try harder, give up more of yourself, your life, found something — anything — that could do it. What we know in our mind is often at war with what we struggle with in our gut. It’s not healthy for either us or our loved one, and is, ultimately, not helpful to the situation. But even if you can’t completely dominate that nagging guilt, you can, with logic, persistence and support of those who have been there done that, assuage it.

Talking with others who’ve been there done that helps.

2016 Friendly Caregiver Awarded book, OK Now What? A Caregiver’s Guide to What Matters (Head to Wind Publishing)  offers suggestions for balancing guilt with reality.

Available Amazon

Resolutions and Daily Life


I’ve never been a believer in  thinking up New Year’s resolutions because for one thing, they’re usually the stuff I’ve been trying to accomplish or delete all year long, and stressing over it during the last few days of every year, when life is stressful enough, just seems counterproductive to me. Having said that, some of my friends make them, and find the annual deadline helpful. Some even achieve them! Today’s Caregiver Magazine (who gave us an award for our book — thanks thanks!) has the same kind of suggestions that we, and virtually every other person who has done/seen or been recruited into caregiving subscribes to. If you’re a January 1-resolution-person, AND are a caregiver (though many of them work just as well for those who are simply trying to improve our own lives and live the best way we can day by day), they’re spot-on.

National Family Caregiver Month Day 30

Sue Collins


 We are grateful to everyone for taking time to read our daily post during the month of November for National Family Caregiver Month. We hope you found the posts inspirational and have learned not to sweat the small stuff and to realize you cannot fix everything. When you begin to feel stress, STOP and take 3 deep breaths to center yourself.

As we approach the Holiday Season we would like to share an old post: Sue’s Favorite Smoothie to give your immune system a boost.

Sue’s Favorite Smoothie11401584_951767381512252_8341760167575151887_n

I have never been a fan of taking multi vitamins for several reasons: cost; the neon colored urine, which seems unnatural; and honestly, I forget to take the darn pills. For me making a smoothie is easy, plus I can control what I put into the smoothie (and my urine does not change colors — unless you add beets, which I don’t, I prefer to eat them!).


Greens: A handful. I use lacinato kale or spinach or a    combination

Banana: ½

Blueberries: 6-10 berries. I use frozen unless in season…

Fresh fruit in season

Flax seed oil: one tablespoon

Cinnamon: one teaspoon

Tumeric powder: one teaspoon

Protein powder: I use 2 Tablespoons of plant-based protein

Almond milk: between ½ to one cup depending on the fresh fruit used and

the desired consistency.

Blend together and enjoy

Greens: I prefer Lucinato Kale because I find it to be less bitter tasting then curly kale. Greens help detoxify the body, give you energy, helps with digestion and strengthens the immune system.

Banana: Rich in Potassium and vitamin B6, helps support heart function.

Blueberry: An antioxidant and some Vitamin C

Flax seed oil: Omega 3 thus it helps lower cholesterol

Cinnamon: Supports heart health, known to lower cholesterol

What Matters Most? Making care of yourself a priority.

Copyright © 2016 by Sue Collins and Nancy Taylor Robson. All rights reserved

National Family Caregiver Month Day 17


Maintaining balance — physical, emotional and spiritual –is essential to well-being. Balance can affect your ability to focus attention and energy on tasks and goals. When you are in balance you feel good and move through life easier. Caregiving can drastically change in short order — a crisis, a needed change in medication, an alteration in the loved one’s abilities. Those changes can leave you feeling out of control and unbalanced. This is normal, or maybe it’s the new normal for you as caregiver.  It’s OK to feel frustrated, angry or to have a good cry. It is better to let the feelings out than to suppress them.

When there’s a sudden change in circumstances, reset your day by rethinking chores and errands. This may be a great time to call on that friend or family member who said, ‘Let me know what you need.” They would probably be unhappy to learn you didn’t accept their offer when you needed to, and instead tried to handle a situation alone.

Finding daily balance is ongoing as a caregiver.  Think about what is most important for you to accomplish without spreading yourself too thin. Keep going back to the drawing board until you find a solution that makes sense.

What matters most? Flexibility. Try a new approach to a situation.

Copyright © 2016 by Sue Collins and Nancy Taylor Robson. All rights reserved

National Family Caregiver’s Month Day 15

Mud MIll -Mary Ann
Mary Ann cared for her parents until they died, and still had to be available to everyone else.

 Be Kind

To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

What is the first thing you say to yourself in the morning, and the second and third? Is it negative? If so, start a new habit today! Start the day reading or listening to something that uplifts you. Write down 3 things you appreciate about yourself. You don’t have to reach for something BIG, it could be as simple as getting dressed as if you were going out of the house. Maybe you got a goodnight sleep. It could be filling a bird feeder to enjoy watch songbirds from the window. Treat yourself as you would a friend in need; you would not be hurtful but reassuring. Reassure yourself!

What matters most? You are enough!

Copyright © 2016 by Sue Collins and Nancy Taylor Robson. All rights reserved

National Family Caregiver Month Day 13

Reflection Not Regret

An evening out with an upbeat friend helps caregiver and cared for!

Caregivers need often go unnoticed — let alone unheralded — especially from immediate family. So today do an exercise that will benefit your mental health by reflecting on only the positive experiences and activities both for you and for your loved one. Get out a piece of paper with your favorite writing pen or pencil. Now make a list of what you have accomplished in the last 6months. List your strengths. What has surprised you? Who has helped you? How many times did you reach out for support? How many times did you schedule an outing for yourself? List some benefits in your role as caregiver. Reviewing your list how does it feel to give back to someone who may have cared for you such as a parent?

What matters most? Acknowledging the positive care you are providing.


Copyright © 2016 by Sue Collins and Nancy Taylor Robson. All rights reserved              

National Family Caregiver Month Day 12

imagesLaugh out Loud!

I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person.

Did you know laughter reduces stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine? And laughing releases endorphins  — the body’s feel-good chemical. It reduces pain and restores positive emotions. There is even a study of the physical and psychological effects  of laughter on the body (known as geology).  Apparently you can find greater happiness and even add years to your life with laughter. (yay! Sounds like much more fun in the added years too!). Children laugh hundreds of times a day, but for adults laughter is more infrequent, but probably needed even more.

So learn to laugh at yourself and situations. Fins the absurdity in life. Watch funny movies or a favorite comedian. Invite friends,who make you laugh to spend time with you. Read jokes, tell jokes, watch funny YouTubes or Ted Talks (some of which re funny, and most have humor.

What matters most? Knowing laughter is the best medicine- and figuring out how to incorporate it into your day!

Copyright © 2016 by Sue Collins and Nancy Taylor Robson. All rights reserved