Tag Archives: Caregivers

Self-care: How to start a gratitude and success journal

I am starting with a notebook I had in my desk.

I heard about gratitude journals years ago and brushed them off as a waste of time (I have a very “left-brain” background).

After starting my work with Indrani’s Light Foundation I would hear Indrani talking about her gratitude journal, but still filed it away as “something I didn’t have time for”.

Last year in October, I finally decided to give the gratitude journal idea a try but didn’t really have any idea how to get started. I knew that writing a traditional journal entry in complete sentences didn’t feel like something I would actually do, so I worked through a few ideas, and finally landed on something that worked.

Now, when I say “worked,” I mean that I successfully journaled for 17 out of 61 days in October and November before stopping completely in December.

You must get started somewhere right?

In episode 15 of the Caring for the Cargivers Podcast Indrani, Amy, and I discussed some of our self-care practices. One of the self-care practices I want to improve upon in 2018 is keeping a gratitude and success journal. When I started keeping my own journal in late 2017 I had no idea what I was doing, but over time I managed to find a system that works for me.

To kick off 2018 I thought I would share how I am using my gratitude and success journal in the hopes it might help you give the idea a try.

How to start a gratitude and success journal (the Jeremie way)

My template includes: gratitude, habits, and successful day.

  1. Buy a journal – I found an empty journal we had sitting around the house (see the image at the start of the post).
  2. Decide what you want to track daily in your journal – I track gratitude, habits, and successful days.
  3. Create a template for your journal entries on the first page – or if you are less worried about structure skip this step. Remember this is YOUR journal.
  4. Pick how often you want to write in your journal – I am committed to writing in mine every week day, if I make entries on the weekend that is a bonus. I also try to write in mine first thing in the morning before starting my work day.
  5. Start using your journal – I am re-kickstarting my journal Friday January 26th.
  6. Don’t beat yourself up when you get off track. Just start again.

How I use my journal

An example of my entry for January 26th.

Section One: Gratitude

I start each day’s entry by reflecting on the previous day and writing down three things that I am grateful for from that day.

I reflect on my previous day for a couple of reasons:

  • I find I am usually too tired before bed to properly reflect on my day and write down my thoughts. If I try to journal at night, I just don’t do it.
  • By writing these three things down first thing in the morning I get an instant boost of energy to my day.

Section Two: Habit Formation

This middle section of my journal entry is dedicated to forming new positive habits. Currently I am trying to go for a walk, drink 4-8 glasses of water, and take my vitamins and other meds every day.

To form these activities into habits I know I have to repeat them enough times that they become routine: actions I take without even having to think about them. By recording my success with each habit in my journal I am reminded to complete each daily task and eventually (hopefully) form a new habit.

Section Three: Successful Day

Every day I select 3-5 tasks from my much longer task list that, if I finish them, will make me feel like I accomplished something and made my day successful.

This section is super important to my day. In the past I have always worked through my day using a long list of tasks I need to complete. What I discovered was, even when I finished a lot of the tasks on that list, I wasn’t feeling very accomplished. There were so many more tasks on the list.

For the end of 2017, and for 2018 I have stopped working of my long task list. Instead, I record 3-5 tasks that I need to complete each day that will make me feel like the day was successful.

If I manage to get more tasks done…great! But achieving more than the five tasks listed in my journal is not a requirement. Only the three to five in the journal need to be finished for my day to be successful.

At the end of 2017 this tweak to my daily routine made a big difference. I found that, at the end of the day, while wrapping things up and transitioning to family time I was feeling much more accomplished and had higher levels of energy.

By limiting my expectations of myself (which usually were not very realistic or fair) I have set myself up to succeed and put myself in a better headspace for the rest of the day and evening.

Journaling every day

Right now, I have a one-day-in-a-row streak going for my 2018 gratitude and success journal.

I am hoping that I can make writing in this journal a successful part of my self-care routine. However, I am also not going to beat myself up for not getting this self-care practice “right”. I think that is an important piece of any self-care routine: if the self-care routine makes you feel worse because you aren’t doing it, then find something different to try.

A self-care routine that makes you feel guilty isn’t doing its job.

I am looking forward to getting better at journaling, and I would love your help. Let me know in the comments below what your gratitude journal (or any sort of daily journal practice) looks like.

Caregivers, BE the change!

Written by  Amy Dier – Director of Education & Training | Indrani’s Light Foundation

BE the changeIndrani recently wrote a blog about the phrase that many of us use too often ….. “Same ol’ same ol’, nothing ever changes!” When I was in law enforcement for 20 years, this was a very common statement I heard over and over again. I worked with many government agency employees, and many were my friends. They, too, used this phrase to describe their discord, and lack of enthusiasm around their jobs.

Now that I’m the Director of Education and Training for Indrani’s Light Foundation, I have been given an opportunity to lead our Caregiver Project, where we reach out and train the staff, volunteers, and administrators of women’s shelters and organizations.  These are the “Caregivers” who work with the women and children who are in need of shelter, counseling, medical and psychological help.  Many of these caregivers are burning out, and quitting their jobs at the shelters because of the every day stress of working in this kind of environment.  Not only is it emotionally hard to work with the women and children, it can also be stressful to work at a shelter with internal personnel issues, which is commonplace.

When I reach out to the shelter caregivers and ask them their biggest source of stress, they tell me when changes are made to improve their work environment, it only lasts for a little while, and then everything goes back to the “same ol’ same ol’.”  There are feelings of abandonment, or lack of trust.  There are shelter administrators who are under an incredible amount of stress to keep their shelter open based on funding, and not be able to pay their staff what they really deserve.

So Indrani wants our training and follow up calls to the caregivers to include a way to challenge the staff to change the language of “same ol’ same ol’.

So here is what Indrani wants the caregivers to do:

“If you are in a work environment and you feel and think that nothing ever changes, I challenge you to live with your values and have the courage to be the one to change in any given situation.  The next time you hear someone say, “Same ol’ same ol’, do the opposite of roll your eyes. Be curious and say, “What do you mean?” Try to engage the negative person to see if you can change the energy in the situation.  Do not succumb to the negative, step away when you feel like you are losing your own positivity.  You take control of YOU, and take YOU out of the negative equation.  Give it s try and see if same old same old can become same situation different me!”  Click here to read the full blog

If you are a caregiver, or a leader of caregivers, or work in an environment where it seems as though nothing ever changes, we challenge you to be brave, step up your game, and take control of YOU!  Step away from the negative and BE the change.

If this blog resonates with you, please comment below.  We’d love to know if this has encouraged you to make a difference at your workplace, and BE the change.  If you’d like to know more about our Caregiver Project, click HERE.

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What is the Caregiver Project?

Some of you are wondering what our Caregiver Project is all about.  Well, let’s start by defining the word, “Caregiver.”  There are a few variations of the definition, but this is the one that best fits our mission:

“Relatives, friends, or professionals who provide a wide range of paid, or unpaid care to dependent relatives, friends and/or people needing physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual support. Caregiving is the action of providing care to these individuals.”

Caregiving can include:

  • Emotional and social support (e.g. visiting, transportation, talking about emotions)
  • Finding and accessing services (e.g. housing, medical supports)
  • Behavioral support (e.g. communicating effectively, managing challenging behaviors)
  • Financial help (e.g. financial support, managing finances)
  • Practical assistance with basic activities of daily living (e.g. housekeeping, shopping, meal preparation)
  • Personal care (e.g. help with monitoring medication, bathing)
  • Physical help (e.g. assistance with movement, supervision, direct medical care)

Overarching all of these activities, caregiving is the assumption of responsibility for providing care, along with the concern, worry and emotional involvement this entails.

Why is ILF involved with the Caregivers at women’s shelters?

Early last year, the founder of ILF, Indrani Goradia, began talking with the staff of shelter facilities who were caring for victims of violence.  They began sharing their concerns for the high turnover rate of staff within their organizations, and the burnout that naturally happens due to the nature of this work.

Indrani quickly went into action.  She knew if we were losing these passionate people who work with victims of violence, we could lose the shelters, or cut the number of women, men, and children who need be housed.   Now, how could ILF help?  We can train and educate the shelter staff (the Caregivers) how to keep from burning out.

 

What we teach the Caregivers?

  • Our trainers are teaching the caregivers about different tools they can use for self-care, and lead a more balanced life.
  • We educate caregivers on how to recognize their own triggers of shame, guilt, and humiliation that effect their work and personal lives.
  • We help them improve their personal boundaries, and how to say “No” to things that compromise their well-being.
  • And we remind them that they matter, that they are loved, and that they are “seen,” for the work they do.

 

Where can we teach the Caregiver Project?

  • We can send our trainers to anywhere in the United States, and some areas of Canada.
  • We teach in women’s shelters and organizations that directly have contact with victims of violence.
  • We are currently training ILF trainers all over the world to help us reach the caregivers in other countries.

 

How much does the training cost?

We offer the Caregiver Training at NO COST to the shelter or organization.  We do, however, rely on donations to fund the 2-day training class. The training requires two certified ILF trainers, and the cost for travel, transportation, food, supplies, and pay for the entire training is approximately $5,000.00.

How can you help us with the Caregiver Project?

  • You can SPREAD THE WORD! Use social media, email, or mention us at a party or event. (facebook.com/indranislight  Twitter: @indranis_light)
  • You can BECOME AN ILF TRAINER! We will be offering the Train-the-Trainer Course every year to certify trainers to teach our ILF curriculum to their own communities and shelters.
  • You can DONATE! Here is where you can donate ANY AMOUNT to help our Caregiver Project, or any other area of our mission to end domestic violence.

 

We need your feedback. 

  1. What do you think of the project?
  2. Is this something you would love to support?
  3. How would you like to support us?
  4. What more could we do?

 

If you have already supported our mission in any way, we want to extend our deepest gratitude.  If you would like to do more, or maybe you haven’t taken the step to support us yet, please reach out to our Director of Education and Training, Amy Dier, at amy@indranislight.org.  She will be more than happy to talk with you about your options.

 

Love & Light,

 

Team ILF