Spend quality time away from caretaking — It refreshes to replenish your energy to give them quality care. Do something that you have been putting off and wanting to engage in. Now is the time to do it.
With all that’s going on in our country, our economy, the world, and on social media, it feels like so many of us are under a great deal of stress. Caring for elderly or aging parents can be particularly stress-inducing. We know chronic stress can be as unhealthy as smoking a quarter of a pack a day. What are stress management strategies that people use to become “Stress-Proof? What are some great tweaks, hacks, and tips that help reduce or even eliminate stress when caring for our aging parents? In this interview series, we are talking to authors, and mental health experts, who can share their strategies for reducing or eliminating stress. As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Bonnie Frankel.
It has been mentioned that when the bottom fell out of her world, Bonnie looked to exercise to release the emotional stress which allowed her to create symmetrically healthy choices. Unexpectedly, this steered her to become a world class runner which ultimately guided her to develop an impeccable belief in herself. She is known to encourage others to be able to use this device which will not only help them to release their stress but motivate their ability to stimulate their intuition.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to know how you got from “there to here.” Inspire us with your backstory.
I knew early on in my life that there would always be something that would occur to drive me to the edge. After all, as a youngster I was saddled with abnormal stress by being a parent to my mom. I was a good listener and knew how to inspire her to get through rough patches. At least, most of them. In order for me to deal with anxiety, physical activity would dispense my pent -up emotions to transcend me to a tranquil place. This form of activity would ignite me to trust my flawless intuition which would lead me to make spot on kosher decisions.
What lessons would you share with yourself if you had the opportunity to meet your younger self?
Listen to your inner voice so that you are able to trust yourself in making your own right decisions, not please others. Be kind to yourself if you make a wrong choice because that builds character. When you help others don’t expect reciprocation, because you do it from your heart. Find the right exercise to do because you will look forward to doing it because it empowers you to release stress the right way. Always exercise because it naturally facilitates you to live a healthier, lengthy, productive, meaningful, and independent life style.
None of us are able to experience success without support along the way. Is there a particular person for whom you are grateful because of the support they gave you to grow you from “there to here?” Can you share that story and why you are grateful for them?
My gratitude to all the dogs that showered me with unconditional love and not abandoning me throughout my numerous peaks and valleys. Dogs are able to evaluate human emotions, and they comfort me when in distressed. Their loyal, comforting companionship and endless patience enables me to feel good about myself. When I am all tuckered out, my now dog rejuvenates my energy because of her resilient vigorous nature. When I got my first dog after my divorce, she was a blessing in disguise because she nurtured me to have a healthy attitude. I called her Happy and by repeating that word would transform me into a joyous self. My elderly dad was crazy about her and he was not a dog lover from the get go. When Happy and I would pick him up, she would get so excited because of her instinctive nature when we got close to his home, would give him unconditional love. What an unexpected and joyful special relationship they developed. My now dog, Suri, gives unconditional love to not only me, but to all she comes in contact with which makes not only her day to be joyous, but others as well. When I am stressed out, Suri rejuvenates my optimism because she is intuitive to my needs.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think it might help people?
I am in the process of motivating international high school students from foreign countries that visit in my community to take part in a school sport. This will help them to not only connect with people from different cultures but also releases their pent- up emotions to induce a feeling of ease. By using physical activity, this tool assists them to socialize to nurture one another and limit the overwhelming alone time spent on social media. It chills the dividedness, cultural prejudices, and the loneliness that has crippled our youth population through these uncertain times. Physical activity will help them feel good about themselves as well as bond meaningful relationships with others. By doing this, it guides us to hearten a better world.
Ok, thank you for sharing your inspired life. Let’s now talk about stress. How would you define stress?
Stress can be interpreted as when one is in a state of emotional worry and mental tension prompted by a difficult situation. It rears its ugly head when you experience uncertainty in any given situation as it translates into a form of anxiety which shifts into fear. The unknown interrupts the joyous feeling of being mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy. It toys with our faith to feel at peace within ourselves because we are not connecting to something familiar. It is a natural human response that challenges us to maintain a sanity as it prompts us to address challenges and threats that occur in our lives. Everyone experiences stress in their life and no one is excluded.
In the Western world, humans typically have their shelter, food, and survival needs met. So what has led to this chronic stress? Why are so many of us always stressed out?
Stress today is prevalent specifically due to the uncertainties that impacted our universe when the familiar system shut down. This sent a message to the people that money, work, family, all forms of relationships, and the economy would transform. It initiated anxiety via technology, family, and relationship dynamics. From stability to the instability of the world contributed to an uneasy feeling because most of what we were familiar with was headed towards unfamiliar. This event disrupted our society then it trickled down to mess with our communities. The power of having less money specifically affected the have-nots as well the newly added inflation draining the swamp especially for the elderly due to their fixed in. This in turn, puts tension to the ones who take care of the aged to provide for them. Most of the people can’t get “no satisfaction” because of the uncertainty of where we are headed, and we sense that the end isn’t going to be a soft landing. We not only question where we are going but also if we are able to afford to fit in.
What are some of the physical manifestations of being under a lot of stress? How does the human body react to stress?
When your body is under stress, you go into an automatic process of the fight or flight reaction. The stress response is the body’s way of protecting you, but some of us never see it that way. All of us react to stress in various ways mentally, emotionally, and physically. Some of us do well with it because they welcome the challenge of change and some do poorly as it threatens the feeling of stability. When working properly with anxiety, one can stay focused, have tons of energy, and stay alert. It can also be beneficial in saving your life because it makes you dig deep to find the strength to defend yourself. It dares one to keep you on your toes to sharpen your concentration. On the other hand, when you feel victimized by stress, you feel emotionally and mentally depressed which affects your making good decision. Also, when we are not looking at our cup half full, we tend to slack in taking care of our physical bodies.
Is stress necessarily a bad thing? Can stress ever be good for us?
How well a person copes with stress depends on the constitution of their personality. Those that like challenge and prone to adventure, can thrive when stress strikes. They blossom, boom, develop, flourish, and grow. For a person who doesn’t do well with challenge is not likely to prosper because it forces them to get out of their comfort zone. This type can suffer emotionally, mentally and physically. Some of us are fearless with stress, and others are fearful. What is important for all of us is to release emotional stress via physical activity in order to feel healthy and grow. One of the secrets to dealing with stress is to practice mindfulness by being in the present moment, not fretting about the future.
Let’s now focus more on the stress of caring for elderly or aging parents. This feels intuitive, but it is helpful to spell it out in order to address it. Can you help articulate a few reasons why caring for our aging parents can be so stressful?
Taking care of the aged is an added burden to everyday living especially residing in the now world of huge uncertainty ever since our system shut down and changed how we live. It is especially strenuous if there is a lack of resources as well as affording day care. Not only does it cramp your style because of added responsibility but also psychologically you have to realign your own emotions to transform with the shift of a dear one who seemed to be a pilar of strength transform to a fragile being. We are forced to realign our perspective in visualizing them.
Can you share with our readers your “5 Things You Can Do To Reduce Stress When Caring For Your Elderly Or Aging Parents”?
1) Exercise — Nourishes your ability to thrive mentally, emotionally, and physically to combat the battle of stress. It guarantees you to feel good about yourself and look at life with your cup full, as opposed to be empty.
2) Photo journal — With a simple click, my camera caught my dad in various images that I would have forever and a day. The process of developing them in a variety of creative images in the old- fashioned darkroom added much enthusiasm to my joyous attitude. The strain lessened significantly with doing this project because I was able to share it with him. It enlightened my heart and we were both grateful to enjoy the various pictures that I would have forever.
3) Laughter — Not only boosts your immune system because it decreases the stress hormones. Make sure your agenda encompasses anything that makes you laugh. It rejuvenates your energy and you may be able to share that sense of gaiety with your aging parent.
4) Support group — Make sure that you are socially connected to others that are specifically going through the process because it will decrease your feeling isolated, lonely, and confused. This can help you to improve your skills in coping with your challenges.
5) Spend quality time away from caretaking — It refreshes to replenish your energy to give them quality care. Do something that you have been putting off and wanting to engage in. Now is the time to do it.
Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that have inspired you to live with more joy in life?
Gift From The Sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Find humor and joy in the present moment
What is the best way for our readers to continue to follow your work online?
Bonniefrankel.com, LinkedIn Facebook, Goodreads
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.