Saturday 27 October 2012

Self Care Is NOT Selfish

A "caregiver's" role in life has many faces, would you not agree to this?  Unless you have personally been a caregiver to someone for any length of time, I am certain all these faces might not be evident to the average person.  But then again, I am sure to some degree in life we have all been a "caregiver" of sorts whether it be towards a human, animal or plant life.

Myself, on a personal level, had been a "caregiver" to my Mother for over 4 years when she resided with Rob and myself until moving into the Golden Dawn Nursing Home in Lion's Head a Year ago this past June. 

As much as you love the person you are providing care for it can still be very stressful, in turn giving cause at times to neglect one's self.  I can not stress enough, how important is it to provide "self care", as this is something I am sure I neglected to do many times.  I learned to be a "caregiver" at a very early age, well before my teen years, however that I might bring forth another time, or not.

Although I found out about the VON Caregiver Support Service at the very end of my Mother living with us, I still found much support through the transition of her going to a Nursing home, still receiving support when required for my feelings or whatever my needs be at any given moment.

Today was one of those days when the VON Caregiver Support program reached out to give back, once again, to the Caregivers and Volunteers ....

I was off and out the door before 9 am this morning as I had been looking forward to the "Self-Care is Not Selfish" seminar all week.  Driving through Owen Sound I could not help but notice a couple of "others" enjoying their morning ...

"Each appearing to be in their own little World taking the freshness of the day."

"This would be Mary Winkler, VON Coordinator for the VON Grey-Bruce  
Supportive Care ~ Hospice Visiting Program,  taking over the shift from Jessica Slater-Hamilton, VON Program Coordinator for the Caregiver Support Circle & Jacqueline Herbert, for greeting all who came to attend this day."

Once everyone had settled in with a morning beverage and snack it wasn't long before we were introduced to the featured speaker, "Lara Stewart-Panko, BA/BSW, CH, HBCE, Counseling & Hypnotherapy".

"What an inspiring and motivating speaker I found Lara to be.  Totally interesting and well learned in where her expertise lies.  She first walked us through an enlightening "Full Body Relaxation" exercise before we grouped up together for some reflection on "the Process of Personal Co-Creation"."

Lara had a break for a bit while Kelly of Chicory Common Natural Foods & Cafe in Durham, touched on a few benefits of natural remedies in the way of teas and aromatherapy.

"Kelly had brought a very wide selection for our perusal, also available for purchase.  Anything needing an explanation, Kelly was more then pleased to assist."

Once Kelly had been so kind to help those of us with our inquires or needs, it was time for us to "break" for lunch.

Lunch was all homemade and had been so kindly provided by the ladies who volunteer for VON Hospice.  I was really impressed with all the wonderful homemade food fare ... a curry dip, with a promise from the lady who had made it that its recipe will be sent to me via email.  A Quinoa Salad which Lara, herself had made and brought along that was to "die for".  This recipe I have in my "hot little hands" as I now type about it ... it will be posted once I get me some Quinoa !!!  Thanks Lara !

Once our wonderful lunch had came to an end, it was on and forward with Lara leading us all into the art of making our own concoction of choice with Essential Oils.

Before going ahead with the "actual" making part, Lara first explained WHAT Essential Oil did for each Common Complaint, and then onto the Cautions and Contra-Indications of each.  All of which she explained very thoroughly with answering questions along the way.

"Then it was time to begin .... "

"Starting with a "base" oil, in our case Grapeseed Oil, we went on to add the Essential Oils needed to complete the concoction of our choice.  In my case it was a Massage Oil for Anxiety & Depression, wherein I added Bergamot, Lavender and Neroli Essential Oils."

Lara was very quick to forewarn all of us when smelling each of the Essential Oils, not to mix and match any of the lids as that would compromise the oils.  Good advice to begin with in consideration of how many Essential Oils there are, or in turn that had been made available to us this day.

With our oils made along with any assistance required by Lara, it wasn't long before we all had our own concoctions made and readily bottled.  

Mary Winkler closed with a "thank you" to all, as well as putting her "net" out there for anyone who wasn't involved and might be interested in being involved as Volunteer for VON.  

Once again it was another wonderful day put forth by the Grey Bruce VON .... warm thanks as I so appreciated it being acknowledged that "Self Care is NOT Selfish".

Driving through Owen Sound, homeward bound at this point, I had to stop ...

".... to admire this very impressive show of Halloween Cheer !!!  I LOVED every bit of it !!!"

Arrived back home, I was pulling in our driveway to notice bodies entering through our front door.  Happy happy day as ....

"My Rip-tail Snorters were here to greet me.  Here our  Grandboys all happy happy happy also be be at Grandma and Poppa's house.  Hey there, Aiden and Connor."

"They had even brought their Mommy, Holly along."

"Much to Bandit's delight, their father, Paul had also came along too."

It has been a busy day.  Thanks to my Slow Cooker, carrots, potatoes and steak were cooked up to perfection within a matter of 4 hours, as I then busied myself by putting together a dessert.

"Order put in for the day was Apple Crisp."

Easy Peasy as 1-2-3 .... Recipe Please?  PRINTABLE RECIPE HERE. (NOTE:  frozen "thawed" apples had been used this day).

For some reason it has seemed to take me much longer then usual to get this post done this evening.  I wonder if it has something to do with a few pleasant and unusual  distractions I have had going on around me, "Just North of Wiarton & South of the Checkerboard".


  1. Your "You Day" sounds wonderful. I look forward to you posting the Quinoa Salad. Since going Gluten Free I have been trying lots of different grains, quinoa being one of them.

    1. I will be sure to hopefully sooner then later, Susan. It was so delish !

  2. that indeed was a worth while day as otherwise it would have been a dreary day with all the wet weather.

    Is the VON all over the world, I'm thinking of England?


    1. The sun had actually been out here, Gill. No I believe the Victoria Order of Nurses is on in Canada.

  3. I love quinoa salad... yummy, yummy. And what a great time you must have had! I love days like that, when you're out on your own, trying new things, socializing and meeting other people. And then to have supper in the crockpot and family to share it with - good for you, Cindy. (That Hallowe'en house IS awesome!)

  4. Hi, Cindy, what an inspiring posting this is, I wish that I had the chance to take a course like this, when I was tending my late husband for 9 years. It can be a stressful time for the caregiver and it is so important to look after one's self during those times, something I didn't do. Thanks for posting the information, it might just help someone else.
    Cheers, Marie

    1. Thanks Marie...I could have also used it more when my Mom was living with us, however that is "okay" as I can SHARE with others who might benefit from the VON Canada support groups before they "burn out" themselves.

  5. So touching Cindy. Thanks for the post! It made me realize that I need to prepare for this role for my aging parents. Aimee from Craftmates

  6. Thanks for your comment on my post - I have the book on order at the library but they don't have it yet and are not sure how long it will take. As far as the "H" thingy is concerned I only have the one gene so am a carrier - doesn't explpain my high ferritin levels and exhaustion though.

  7. VON is such an amazing & wonderful service/group!! :) Looks like it was a wonderful day! Love the Halloween decorations.. lol! Ours were brought in today as we're supposed to get 'frankenstorm' over the next 2-3 days!


How nice of you to drop around to have a wee visit with me to see what I have been up to from time to time. I look forward to your comments as they add much brightness to my each and every day to know there are such wonderful people out there.

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