Green isn’t just for St. Patrick’s Day. The month of March is also National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month, which is proudly represented with the green awareness ribbon.
The CDC defines Cerebral Palsy (CP) as follows: a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. The CDC also notes that CP “is the most common motor disability in childhood” and that cerebral refers to brain and palsy refers to weakness or problem with using muscles.
However, if I didn’t know a mother of a child living with Cerebral Palsy I would have zero realization that March is CP awareness month. And as I thought about CP awareness, or the lack thereof, and started to research CP in general, I kept thinking: Where are the articles that spotlight the caretakers of those with CP?
- Medical costs are around 10 times higher for children with cerebral palsy
- Medical costs are around 26 times higher for children with cerebral palsy who have an intellectual disability
- The total lifetime care costs to take care of a child with cerebral palsy currently exceeds $1 million
Although the phrase “money can’t buy happiness” holds validity, those who have deeply financially struggled know there’s a point in that struggle when the stress from the amount of money coming in versus the amount of money needed to go out can cause hair loss, physical pain, sleep issues, over or under eating, nightmares, relationship issues, etc. Money may not buy happiness, but not having enough money to provide for your family their necessities, such as shelter, food, clothes, and medical needs, can be debilitating.
This is a PSA for all caretakers, whether that be for those who care for loved ones with Cerebral Palsy or otherwise. You may be a single parent. You may have a child with a disability. You may have a parent with dementia. Regardless of who it is you take care of and regardless of the reasons for your need to care, you must be diligent about your health.
Your calendar is saturated with different colored pens and highlighters to differentiate appointments. Your mind is overrun with thoughts of whether you are doing enough and if you can do better. Your body is exhausted from always putting someone before yourself. And it’s been so long since you’ve dabbled in true self-care that you need the term self-care used in a sentence to better understand its meaning.
As everything from flu to coronavirus to the common cold runs rampant, waiting to knock on the door of a compromised immune system, protect yourself. You can’t take care of anyone if you need taken care of yourself so intentionally focus on your health. There are supplements, like
EMPowerplus, that help make caring for yourself easy and that are clinically proven to, in the case of EMPowerplus:
- Promote calmness, clarity, and focus
- Increase energy
- Alleviate stress
- Boost the immune system
If supplements aren’t your go-to, then the Mayo Clinic recommends the following to relieve stress and stay healthy:
- Get active
- Eat a healthy diet
- Avoid unhealthy habits
- Don’t turn to caffeine, alcohol, smoking, illegal substances, or eating too much when stress rears its hideous head.
- Laugh more
- Connect with others
- Avoid the urge to isolate yourself when life is stressful.
- Assert yourself
- Learning to say no or delegate can be key to successfully managing stress.
- Try yoga
- Get enough sleep
- Keep a journal
- Get musical and be creative
- Whether you listen to music when you’re stressed or work on your flower garden, encouraging a mental distraction can give your brain the break it needs from your life’s stressors.
- Seek counseling
Caretakers, on average, are selfless. If they weren’t selfless, they wouldn’t be successful as a caretaker and someone else would be called to step in and help. But caretakers are selfless to a fault, and that fault is often their health. That’s why in this piece, the caretakers have the spotlight. It’s important to take care of your health, especially when someone else relies on you. At the end of the day, you must be your best to give your best.
Author: Evelyn Lindell
Certified Health & Wellness Coach