Susan Gray, Author at Synergy Chiropractic

Female Caregiver? Exhausted?

In the month of May we celebrate the women in our lives!  We are the natural caregiver, the mothers, daughters, friends, givers.  Always ready to lend a hand, cook a meal, share a celebration and a go to when the chips are down.   As providers of the majority of informal care to spouses, parents, parents-in-law, friends and neighbors, we play many roles while caregiving—hands-on health provider, care manager, friend, companion, surrogate decision-maker and advocate.  Always giving but is the expectation too much?

I know speaking from experience that the last few months as caregiver to my Mom has been a roller coaster of poor sleep, fast food, missed work, many miles in my car and always checking the phone for messages.  Not to mention an emotional roller coaster.  I’m exhausted!

The health consequences on our caregivers is heavy.  Problems such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, susceptibility to every little cold and flu and even major immune breakdowns such as shingles and pneumonia.  As workforce participation increases, caregiving could pose even greater financial challenges for many women workers, due mostly to lost wages from reduced work hours, time out of the workforce, missed promotions, family leave or early retirement.

But it’s not all doom and gloom!  After all, like most of you I wouldn’t leave my moms care up to just anybody.  We have a big, beautiful, loving, family willing to help.  I just need to ask.   And I do work at a pretty cool place with health resources to keep me on track.  Again, I can’t hide from the fact that I too need some care.

Here’s what this caregiver uses to help me through;

  1. Let’s start with the obvious.  Getting adjusted!  I know from first hand experience that it helps stabilize my emotions.  My physical body was trembling with anxiety and my state of mind was laughing hysterically at the silliness.   Within minutes of the adjustment I was calming down.  And it has helped me get some much needed sleep.
  2. Food.  Well…. Lets just say they can put the calorie count on all their drive thru boards.  It doesn’t make the choices any better. Keeping a stash of nuts, fruit and bottled water in my car has saved me several times!
  3. Sleep.  On the nights when it is not my friend… I try not to freak out and adjust my following day accordingly.  I have had to cancel many obligations and social outings that I just wasn’t prepared to be happy at!  My friends understand.
  4. ASK FOR HELP!  A good friend reminded me that it’s ok to say “I’m not ok”  I have a great group of family and friends but I have to let them know when and how I need them.  Don’t be shy.

So if you know a caregiver, ask how you can help! And if you are one remember, sometimes the caregiver needs to be taken care of!

 

 

After seeking chiropractic help in her twenty’s for the usual (and expected –or so I thought) lower back issues that go with horseback riding, she experienced a new level of health. Not only has she made chiropractic a regular part of her life but she has made a commitment to changing her lifestyle and coaches others how to do the same. She is an avid outdoors person. You can find her walking her beagle, biking, painting and drinking great coffee. Her true passion is riding horses and has been a competitive rider/jumper for years.

The Anti-Inflammatory World – What are we doing to ourselves?

Get outside and live life fully!

The anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle is very much in the news these days.  Is it Fact, Fiction or Fad?

I’m very much learning as I go so I will take a basic intro to the anti-inflammatory world of do’s and don’ts and share them with you!  And would love your ideas, feedback and recipes.

First let’s talk about inflammation. What is it? Why does it happen and why is it bad for us? Or is it?

Inflammatory cells are cells that cause inflammation. They release different molecules and mediators that can cause an area to become hot, hyperperfused (red), painful and swollen. In some cases, inflammation is a good thing.  A mosquito bite gets puffy and red.  It’s the body’s way of isolating a problem or intruder, rushing blood cells to the area to fight and heal.

It is important to let the body heal itself.  But when is it a problem and what is chronic low level inflammation doing to our bodies? Let’s look at what today’s lifestyles throw at our bodies, things that previous generations never had to deal with and as a result we are seeing more and more chronic illnesses and even fatal diseases. Things such as chronic fatigue, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Let’s take a look at contributing factors;

·         Sedentary lifestyles – we work more, exercise less.

·         Diet and Nutrition – we think of diet predominantly as a number/result issue as opposed to nutrition/wellness  – Processed foods may be fast  and easy but it’s also a fast and easy way to wreck your health.

·         Environmental contributors – pollution, second hand smoke and even medications.

Hence the Anti-Inflammatory Lifestyle! Or as we like to say around here “ a balanced lifestyle”. Identify in your life what could be contributing to unnecessary inflammation in your body.  Some of these things you can change some you can’t. Cut out ONE simple anti-inflammatory causing food at a time.  Replace it with an anti-inflammatory fighter!  Follow a vitamin regimen and modify it as needed. GET ADJUSTED!  A well-functioning nervous system is the hub to wellness.  Discover a fun way to exercise that will keep you motivated and committed. Hiking, dancing, skating or even just walking.  I have friends that have recently discovered photography and bird watching.  Get outside and live!  Do everything possible to help your body fight todays challenges!

Here are a few more anti-inflammatory ways to fights;

·         Omega 3 – in its purest form

·         Spices such as turmeric, ginger, curry and garlic

·         Whole grains such as wild rice, quinoa and oats

·         Go fresh!  Stay in the fresh food isles and explore new ways to add foods (for me it’s some I don’t enjoy) as smoothies and soups

·         Tea, dark chocolate and yes even a little red wine is good for you!

 

So when (not if) we choose a balanced approach to an anti-inflammatory lifestyle, we will be helping our bodies be inflammation fighters when they need to be!

 

After seeking chiropractic help in her twenty’s for the usual (and expected –or so she thought) lower back issues that go with horseback riding, she experienced a new level of health. Not only has she made chiropractic a regular part of her life but she has made a commitment to changing her lifestyle and coaches others how to do the same. She is an avid outdoors person. You can find her walking her beagle, biking, painting and drinking great coffee. Her true passion is riding horses and has been a competitive rider/jumper for years.

Healthy New Year – Round Two!

 

My Boy!

About this time last year I set out to get healthy!   I know a lot of you are thinking it right now.  “Time to make changes.”  I set out  on the usual path with goals in mind, but boy did the plan change!  I’ll tell you one thing right off the bat, I haven’t been sick in a year!  Yep, Jan 15th 2016, I was suffering with my second round of bronchitis, weight gain, limited physical abilities, and STILL in menopause! Brutal.  I had numbness and tingling in my hands, prone to breaking out in hives, insomnia, and somewhat depressed.  Who wouldn’t be!  I was on a puffer for my lungs, sleeping pills to get some rest and the ususal handful of Advil for all the aches and pains.

It turns out the one constant place, person and treatment where I felt strong and motivated was here!  Synergy Chiropractic.  Their ever abundnant positivity and gentle pushing (and sometimes I needed a healthy shove!) slowly helped me get my act together.  Nothing is as easy as getting on a treadmill, eating a salad and putting a smile on your face.  Everyone’s reality is different.  And the one step forward, two steps back reality can be VERY discouraging.

Slowly but surely I’ve been chipping away at many of my issues and how I got there:

  • frequent colds, turning into bronchitis
  • hives, from what?
  • sleep? what sleep?
  • weight, fitness
  • over use of medications

Where to start? I think the big picture scared me.  That’s a big list of changes.  But I was sick and tired of being sick and tired!  My immune system was tired.  Worn out.  I had nothing left, so I started there.  Replacing the medical pill popping with vitamin pill popping.  Staying away from people and situations that could compromise my recovery.  Pretty sure the hives were stress related. But I couldn’t tackle it all at once so I gave myself permission to be succesful at just one thing at a time.  And it’s been slow!  I really thought by the end of 2016 I would have achieved all my healthy goals.

What have I achieved?  It started with learning more about vitamins and which ones are important to me.  And sticking with it.  I actually have a gigantic pill box on the kitchen counter to help me stay on track.  There’s a great website http://www.drweil.com/ that I follow.  He also has a health survey you can take and it will provide you with a vitamin protocol.  I don’t do all of it but I certainly do the obvious ones! Multi’s, C, Cal-Mag, Probiotics and more!  (You do have to give your email but I actually like the daily emails – they’re short and relevant and I’ve learned tons!)

Sleep is still an elusive creature.  But I have made changes and it has certainly improved.  And I always sleep better on a day that I’ve had my chiropractic adjustment!  Menopause *sigh*  Well it happens to the best of us lol! But there are also steps I’ve learned that have helped and most importantly not to be angry and frustrated with something that is a healthy part of life.  And also not to use it as an excuse!  “oh the weight gain… well it’s menopause, can’t do anything about that!”  Yes I can!

As most of you know I have a horse and I ride several times a week.  I am not however in great physical shape and that really was one of my goals for 2016.  So now that I have many of the other things under control I have set myself fitness goals that are related ONLY to my riding.  I’m hoping by narrowing the focus a little that I will have better luck sticking with new changes.  For the record… I hate the gym!  I could spend a day at the barn no problem!

I also went back to work this year!  And boy did I get lucky!  What a great place.  I’m learning tons, meeting great people and being supported and pushed along my journey.  Synergy Chiropractic is so much more than a place to get a physical adjustment.  They’ve adjusted my outlook on life and I am excited for 2017!  Round Two!  Another Healthy Year!

 

 

Will I Be A Healthy Senior?

She’s not a senior she’s my mom!   Part of my regular routine now involves looking after my mom and it’s not so much “caring for her” as it is “caring about her” and it’s turning out to be quite fun!  It’s also making me pay attention to my own health in a new way.  How do I see myself as a senior? Let’s face it, ain’t none of us getting any younger!

Do you think of what it’s going to be like when you’re a senior?  I know I didn’t.  But now I’m planning, learning, asking about the future in a very new way.  Is the advice and care that is given seniors the best it can be and do I believe it is the only way?  Can I (you) be a better advocate?  These are new waters and I am approaching it with an open mind but a firm heart.  After all this is my Mom we’re talking about!

A day in a seniors life

  • Community Living
  • The day to day
  • Navigating a medical mindfield
  • Having fun

A few years ago my mom decided to move into a senior’s residence.  We (the family) thought it was a great idea. It’s a lovely residence with community rooms, activities, outings and a well balanced meal plan.  But that same community brings it’s own challenges.  So many people in close quarters sharing not only their stories but their struggles and of course their illnesses.

So many medications, so many aids.  It becomes a dialogue about what’s wrong and not about what’s right.

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