A Senior Caregiver’s Guide to Prevent Falls A Guest Post by Roger Sims


Falls are the primary cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in the elderly. Every year, more than two million seniors are rushed to the emergency room after falling.

Several things can lead to the elderly falling, such as:

  • Vision problems
  • Difficulty walking
  • Medication side effects that cause vertigo
  • Foot or leg pain
  • Household hazards

There is nothing to worry about, as it is easy to eliminate risk factors for falling. Fortunately, falls are easily preventable. Taking the right precautions can make your loved one’s home a safe environment. To ensure the safety of your loved ones, take the following steps to avoid these accidents.

Removing Household Hazards

Household hazards are the easiest risk to eliminate. As your parents get older, mobility can become an issue. Start by removing clutter around your house. These potential hazards include things like electrical cords, loose rugs, and knick-knacks. Clear all pathways of objects they might trip over, and do a thorough examination of their home.

You may find you’ll have to do minor repairs to correct a sloping step, broken tile, or loose floorboard. Rearrange their furniture so they will always have something stable to hold onto as they walk around. If they use a mobility device like a cane or wheelchair, increase doorway widths to 36 inches so they can maneuver easily.

Addressing Eye Problems      

Of course, removing excess clutter and creating safe pathways won’t help much if they can’t see where they’re going.

Failing eyesight that comes with age can cause elderly people to misjudge distance and depth. Not only would it be hard to determine how far away a table edge is, but they could also have difficulty navigating staircases when going down.

The best way to avoid this issue is to regularly get your elderly loved one’s eyes checked in case their prescription needs to be updated. Encourage them to always wear their prescription glasses, even if it’s just for a short trip to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Ensure your home is well-lit and light switches are easily accessible. A lack of literal blind spots will aid your aging loved one in moving around the house, regardless of the time of the day.

Reading glasses should not be worn while walking, especially outside. Those who wear progressive lenses should ask their doctors for a separate pair for general outdoor activities, as these types of glasses may interfere with distance perception.

Increasing Physical Activity


 One of the best ways to help prevent falls is to improve their balance by strengthening their core and lower muscles. As your loved one ages, their physical fitness and abilities may begin to decline. Muscle tone will gradually disappear and flexibility will decrease. This can be easily combatted by regularly engaging in light exercise.

Activities that focus on strengthening the core, improving strength in the lower extremities, and improving balance are suggested to any senior looking to start a new exercise program. For caregivers, check out your local community centers to find fitness classes that are senior citizen friendly. Tai Chi is one often-recommended exercise. If you can’t find a class your aging loved one would like to join, simply encouraging them to walk a little bit each day is fine.

Some older people may not be inclined to start a new exercise program, for any number of reasons. In such a situation, offering to join your aging loved one in classes or short walks every day may encourage them to participate. Not only will you be helping them stay fit, but you’ll also be able to bond with them over a new activity.

For elderly individuals who already have trouble walking unassisted, it may be advisable to invest in equipment that allows them to walk independently while still having constant support. Canes and walkers are ideal for a senior who still wishes to get around but who may already have trouble doing so without a little helping hand.

Implementing Other Safety Precautions


 Even the ideal physical fitness level for your loved one’s age stands no chance against slippery floors or just plain bad luck. As a final precaution against easily avoidable falls, it’s best to look into safety equipment that can be installed around your home to eliminate any chance of an accident.

 Bathrooms are particularly notorious for slips and spills, for both elderly and young patients. Implementing assistive devices should be a top priority. Look for grab bars that can be attached to shower walls and bathtub sides, as well as non-slip bath mats that allow the elderly to stand without worrying about sliding on wet tiles. For those unable to stand in the shower, a bath chair can make showering a safer and more independent experience. Transfer benches are another option to help your senior get in and out of the shower.

Additionally, installing handrails on both sides of your stairs is recommended to ensure your loved one’s safety when they use the stairs. These handrails can provide a stable device for them to hold onto, but they can also be used in the event of a fall. Grabbing onto the rail can either stop the fall and allow them to steady themselves or can be used for them to get back up.

Providing the elderly with proper-fitting shoes is another important step. Make sure they wear comfortable, well-fitting—and, in the case of the ladies, low-heeled—shoes with a non-slip sole. These are essential in allowing them to move around without added difficulty and preventing them slipping on a wet surface.

Final Thoughts

Remember, if you are caring for an elderly relative, falls don’t have to happen. They are easily avoidable with the right safety precautions and a few additions like assist bars in the shower stall or handrails on the staircase.














6 Easy Ways To Stay Organized and Productive as a Caregiver A Guest Post by Maggie Drag


Being a caregiver is arguably one of the most noble professions out there – but it can also take a serious toll on your personal life. Here are 6 work-life balance tips to help you reduce stress, and ultimately make you the best caregiver for not only your clients, but for yourself, too!

1.) Plan Ahead

If you have multiple clients, or work as a live-in caregiver, keeping track of their favorite foods, interests, and medications may seem like a job in itself. Keeping a daily planner can help! If you’re constantly on your phone, try downloading an app like Fantastical, ReQall and Evernote. They are super easy to use and will allow you to set up alerts and various notifications in case you’d like to be reminded of their doctor appointments, and even your own appointments with your caregiving agency, for example. At the end of the day, keeping on top of your clients’ needs and preferences will save you a lot of stress and in the future.

2.) De-Clutter

From old receipts and grocery lists, you may have trouble remembering which documents belongs to who! Here are some easy ways to help both yourself and your client, and try doing it together and make it fun while you’re at it! First, organize your bills and clients’ bills in a binder for safe-keeping. Next, divide up your coupons into a handy coupon organizer for easy access. Finally, keep track of your own caregiving documents, from contracts, care plans and emergency contacts in a folder. Try organizing each folder by client if you have multiple, and keep a small notepad to jot down any other helpful information.

3.) Think Ahead

As a caregiver, you know that life as you know it may change in a second, whether it be your client’s health, a sudden re-assignment, and not to mention changes in your personal life. First, make sure you have a list of emergency contacts (including your agency) prepared in case you are unable to help your client or need to be relieved at any point. Next, be sure you have a plan set up for a medical emergency based on your client’s health history. Keeping track of their food allergies for one is a simple but critical step to preventing emergencies in the future.

4.) Reconnect with Loved Ones

If you’ve lost touch with a close friend, since you started another assignment, remember this: Caring about your job is one thing, but caring about your relationships is far more important in the long run. Call your distant relative via Facetime – you could even plan a day where you help your client Facetime their grandchildren after you connect with your own family!

You carry a great responsibility as a caregiver, and while your friends and family should understand that you are often very busy, don’t forget to show them some appreciation and keep in touch!

5.) “Me” Time

Being a caregiver takes a lot of work, but it is incredibly rewarding and allows you to build meaningful relationships and touch so many lives. However, as much as you may love your job, don’t forget to carve out some time for yourself each day– even if for only an hour, to do some gardening, watch some old movies, surf the internet, and even go out for a relaxing day at the spa. If you are a live-in caregiver, ask your client if they’d like to join in on the fun! This will help you stay productive and engaged in your assignment in a much more meaningful way.

6.) Take Care of Yourself

As much as you care about your job as a caregiver, don’t forget that the first step to being an amazing caregiver is taking good care of yourself. Keep up with exercise, eat a balanced diet but make sure you’re getting the necessary rest between assignments first and foremost- especially if you work overnight. Sleep allows your body and brain to replenish, not to mention stay alert on important assignments and throughout the day if your client needs extra supervision when taking medications, for example. Losing sleep can ultimately take a serious toll on your health in the long run, so don’t be afraid to ask your agency about rescheduling your assignments or for tips on how to manage your sleep schedule to help you be your best for your clients.

About the author:

Maggie Drag is the owner and founder of a homecare agency located in central Connecticut. With over 27 years of experience in the industry, Maggie shares her knowledge and tips about care at home.  Visit homecare4u.com  to learn more about Maggie Drag.

An Interview with Phyllis

Originally featured in Women of Distinction Magazine: September 8, 2016


High Resonance Healing Words
Healer’s outstretched open hand surrounded by random wise healing words on a rustic stone effect background


Q: A good deal of your coaching practice is centered on working with family caregivers. What are some of the challenges facing family caregivers today?

A: Their biggest challenge is to have a life of their own while caring full time for their loved one and not self-destruct in the process. I think it is so important to remember that in most cases, family caregivers never saw this responsibility coming. They didn’t go to school to learn how to be caregivers. They did not make a conscious decision to make a career in caregiving. They responded to a life-changing event, which usually involved a spouse, parent or child. They made the significant changes necessary to be fully present and care for that person. That is not only love and loyalty in action; it is the highest form of generosity. By in large, family caregivers go it alone. What community resources were available are now all but gone since the economic downturn of 2007. So my work with these clients is centered on finding ways to meet their self-care needs and in identifying ways to seek assistance. I am a huge proponent of the care model put forth by The Share the Care Organization. This not-for-profit organization conducts training programs to teach professional and family caregivers how to set up care circles. We usually have a group of friends and neighbors who would like to help but are not capable of rendering physical care. This care model focuses on what people can do. Perhaps you can help with marketing, lawn care, driving to doctor appointments, etc. Creating care circles allow others to help you and your loved one so that the responsibilities of your life do not become overwhelming.

Q: What is your approach to coaching?

A: My approach to coaching is to view my client as whole, competent and capable. I understand how challenging it can be to remain clear and authentic about ones goals and one self as you try to navigate your life. Responsibilities, setbacks and the demands of an adult life can overshadow a person’s understanding of the present and cloud his or her vision for the future. Our very human nature creates blind spots to options and solutions. My goal is to empower my client to access their own innate knowing and personal wisdom. I can support them as they explore where they are now, guide them in clarifying where they want to be, assist them in setting up a timeline, and support them efforts to attain their goals in a nonjudgmental manner.

Q: What is compassion fatigue?

A: It is a condition characterized by a gradual lessening of your ability to render empathic care over time. Those at risk for the development of compassion fatigue include: nurses, social workers, first responders, special education teachers, and the family caregivers of those with chronic illnesses. Symptoms include but are not limited to, a decrease in experiences of pleasure practicing a profession you once loved, a sense of relentless stress, anxiety over the thought of going to work, and a pervasive negative attitude that creeps into all areas of your life. Long term, this can have devastating effects on your work performance and relationships and life.

Q: How can you start a person along the process of recovery from compassion fatigue?

A: Caregivers have a difficult time with the idea of receiving care therefore, acknowledging that you may be experiencing compassion fatigue and seeking help is a healthy first step. Everyone’s journey to the development of the syndrome is unique so there is no such thing as one approach fits all. However, the biggest hurdle to get over is to embrace the fact that you must take just as good care of yourself as you do others. It is vital to approach caregiving from a place of fullness and not try to render care when you are fueling yourself from the fumes of your compassionate nature. The airline industry really gives the best advice. Put your own oxygen on first, and then help the other person. A big part of recovery is to incorporate an adequate rest and self-care regimen into your life. This adaptation should be seen as a treatment for compassion fatigue and as a vaccination against developing the syndrome again.

Q: Why do you recommend a regular mindful practice for caregivers?

A: People who are drawn to human services are perpetual doers. They start doing from the minute they wake up and don’t stop until they fall asleep. They only way to add a sense of balance to that approach to life is to incorporate regularly scheduled times when we are just still and breathing. Doers are always in their head thinking about what they need to do and whom they need to do it for. So taking time to just sit and breathe, so that you are more aware of being in your body rather than stuck in the endless loop of thinking, can offer a much needed break from perpetual doing.

Q: What inspired you to write your book; Rediscover the Joy of Being a Nurse?

A: As I was crisscrossing the country speaking and coaching at various nursing events, I was deeply saddened by the degree of personal pain these nurses were struggling with every day. I felt the need to try to offer some guidance to those who felt so disconnected from something that meant so much to them. The insight the book offers is not centered on anything that we learned in nursing school. Rather, it is focused on the development of three vital life skills: the ability to adapt, the ability to make and sustain relationships and the ability to be resilient. I believe that cultivating these three life skills can help nurses refocus their attention on themselves and what they need to have a content professional and personal life for the long term.

Q: What has been the most successful marketing strategy for you?

A: Developing my relationship within the social networks on LinkedIn. I have found LinkedIn to be the most professional and powerful networking medium. Everyone using this platform is serious and looking to connect with other serious individuals. Engaging on LinkedIn is a commitment of time and effort but the return on my investment has been worth it. Many of my most important opportunities have been offered to me through LinkedIn.

March 20th: Happy International Day of Happiness




Speaking at the High Level Meeting on “Happiness and Well-Being: Defining a New Economic Paradigm” convened during the sixty-sixth session of the General Assembly, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stated that the world “needs a new economic paradigm that recognizes the parity between the three pillars of sustainable development. Social, economic and environmental well-being are indivisible. Together they define gross global happiness.

The meeting was convened at an initiative of Bhutan, a country which recognized the supremacy of national happiness over national income since the early 1970s and famously adopted the goal of Gross National Happiness over Gross National Product.

The General Assembly of the United Nations in its resolution 66/281PDF document of 12 July 2012 proclaimed 20 March the International Day of Happiness recognizing the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in the lives of human beings around the world and the importance of their recognition in public policy objectives.

The United Nations invites Member States, international and regional organizations, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations and individuals, to observe the International Day of Happiness in an appropriate manner, including through education and public awareness-raising activities.

Secretary-General’s Message

This year’s International Day of Happiness is focused on Climate Action for a Happy Planet.

Everyone can be part of our campaign: governments, civic groups, the media and individuals. This year, even cartoon characters have joined in as the United Nations teams up with a group famous for lacking good cheer: the Angry Birds.

These animated ambassadors are helping to raise awareness about the importance of climate action for our common future. You can join them by sharing your own climate actions using the hashtag #AngryBirdsHappyPlanet.

At this time of grave injustices, devastating wars, mass displacement, grinding poverty and other manmade causes of suffering, the International Day of Happiness is a global chance to assert that peace, well-being and joy deserve primacy. It is about more than individual contentment; it is an affirmation that we have a collective responsibility to humanity.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is our plan to realize a life of dignity for all people. By advancing progress towards the interlinked Sustainable Development Goals, we can help spread happiness and secure peace.

The best way to celebrate this International Day of Happiness is by taking action to alleviate suffering. In this spirit, let us use this occasion to renew a global spirit of solidarity to create a safer, more prosperous and more sustainable future for all.

Documents and Resources

6 Exercises To Strengthen Compassionate Leadership A Guest Post by Andrew Newberg M.D.

compassion word in wood type

When you use compassionate communication in your conversations, something quite surprising occurs: both your brain and the brain of the person you’re talking to begin to align themselves with each other. This special bond is a phenomenon referred to as “neural resonance,” and in this enhanced state of mutual attunement, two people can accomplish remarkable things together. Why? Because it eliminates the natural defensiveness that normally exists when people casually converse.

The capacity to deeply relate to others is a key to all forms of relational success—at work and at home. If you find yourself in the position of overseeing others—be they your employees or your children—remember this: leaders who give the least amount of positive guidance to their subordinates are less successful in achieving their organizations’ goals, and the employees are unhappier with their work. Indeed, by not taking an active role in dialogue and teamwork building, they generate more interpersonal conflicts within their groups. Here are 6 steps to work on to become a more compassionate leader.

Step 1: Stay Present

When you focus intently on your breathing and relaxation, you pull your attention into the present moment. When we become completely absorbed in something as simple as breathing or relaxing a specific part of our body, the inner speech of everyday consciousness stops, at least momentarily, and this allows us to become aware of the subtle things that are immediately happening around us. We hear sounds we rarely notice, we feel more sensations in our body, and if we bring this “presentness” into a conversation, we hear more clearly the subtle tones of voice that give emotional meaning to the speaker’s words.

Step 2: Cultivate Inner Silence

Most of us are only able to stay relaxed and in the present moment for brief periods of time. Soon it gets interrupted by our inner speech. Research shows that you can suppress those distracting feelings and thoughts, but you have to practice doing it over and over until you gain control.

The more you consciously think about not thinking—as a formal training exercise—the more you gain voluntary control over the brain’s spontaneous cascade of inner speech and cognition. We especially need to develop the skill to remain silent so that we can give our fullest attention to what other people say. Unconsciously they will know when we’re distracted by our inner speech, and the lack of interest they perceive will make them distance themselves from you. Thus in active communication, silence is not the enemy.

Step 3: Access a Pleasant Memory

It’s best to enter a conversation with an inviting expression that conveys kindness, compassion, and interest. But as we explained in the previous chapter, this facial expression cannot be faked. It can be elicited by tapping into a pleasant memory, particularly one that involves people you deeply love and respect. This memory softens the muscles around your eyes and evokes a gentle half smile on your face.

When another person sees this expression, it stimulates a feeling of trust in their brain. The recollection of pleasant memories will also release pleasure chemicals throughout your own body and brain, and this will take you into an even deeper state of relaxation. When you look directly into the other person’s eyes as you maintain this loving memory, they will want to engage you in a dialogue. Their facial expression will resonate with yours, and this will deepen the sense of contentment and satisfaction in both of you. As researchers at Loyola University Chicago demonstrated, contentment gives rise to mutually benevolent engagements.

Step 4: Observe Nonverbal Cues

“Keep your eyes on the ball.” It’s an expression used in sports and often applied to business, but when it comes to interpersonal relationships, it’s essential to keep your eyes on the individual you are conversing with in order to discern the many nonverbal messages we constantly send to others. However, this does not mean that you should gaze unceasingly at the other person—that could feel invasive—but if you maintain softness in your eyes, generated by a pleasant memory, the other person won’t want to take their eyes off you!

Eye contact stimulates the social-network circuits in your brain. It decreases the stress chemical cortisol, and it increases oxytocin, a neurochemical that enhances empathy, social cooperation, and positive communication.

Step 5: Speak Briefly

Compassionate communication has a basic rule: whenever possible, limit your speaking to thirty seconds or less. And if you need to communicate something essential to the listener, break your information into even smaller segments—a sentence or two—then wait for the person to acknowledge that they’ve understood you.

It’s a hard concept to embrace. Why? The best reason we know of is that our busy minds have not been able to clearly formulate the essence of what we want to convey, so we babble on, externalizing the flow of information generated by our inner speech.

Our conscious minds can only retain a tiny bit of information, and for thirty seconds or less. Then it’s booted out of working memory as a new set of information is uploaded. Our solution: honor the golden rule of consciousness and say only a sentence or two. Then pause and take a small deep breath, to relax. If the other person remains silent, say another sentence or two, and then pause again. This allows the other person to join in whenever they feel the need to respond or to ask for clarification. If you must speak for a longer period of time, forewarn the listener. This will encourage them to pay closer attention to you and to ignore their own intrusive inner speech.

Step 6: Listen Deeply

To listen deeply and fully, you must train your mind to stay focused on the person who is speaking: their words, tone, gestures, facial cues—everything. It’s a great gift to give to someone, since to be fully listened to and understood by others is the most commonly cited deep relationship or communication value.

When the other person pauses—and hopefully they’ll have enough self-awareness not to ramble on and on—you’ll need to respond specifically to what they just said. If you shift the conversation to what you were previously saying, or to a different topic, it will interrupt the neurological “coherence” between the two of you, and the flow of your dialogue will be broken.

When practicing compassionate communication, there’s usually no need to interrupt. If the other person doesn’t stop talking, they may be giving you an important clue. Perhaps their mind is preoccupied, or perhaps they are deeply caught up in their own feelings and thoughts. If this is the case, it’s unlikely that they will be able to listen deeply to what you want to say.

5 New Year’s Practices for Women to Experience More Presence, Passion & Joy in 2016 A Guest Post by Devaa Haley Mitchell



The holidays can often be an overwhelming time… especially for women.  

However, if we look beyond the frenetic buzz, there’s often a desire to replenish ourselves and create a fresh chapter in the new year.

We have the chance to start anew — with 12 months ahead to create and explore so many opportunities.

Some of us are focused on new work and creative projects while others are focused on family matters. Some are planning adventures to exotic lands while others are volunteering at local organizations. And some of us want to call in a new romantic love or find a new home…

But no matter what the details entail, for most women, merely checking off a glittery list of accomplishments is unsatisfying at some level.

The truth is that women have a unique way of creating that is naturally attuned and in synch with the flow of the universe.

(And I’ll be sharing 5 practices to help you tap back into this below.)

You may have gone down that goal-focused path time and again, and experienced some rewards — but if you’re anything like me, you likely found it to be an exhausting experience…

… sensing that there must be another way to honor our uniquely feminine longings.

That’s because our dreams include both who we want to BE and how we want to FEEL in the new year.

  • We want to find new ways to express our unique talents & make a contribution to the world around us.
  • We want to follow our passions & still be financially abundant.
  • We want to give & receive immense love from our close friends and family.
  • We want to feel fulfilled.
  • And we want a clear pathway for creating that reality, here & now.

While taking this journey year after year, I’ve paid special attention to some of the foundational practices that have served me in creating a deeply fulfilling life.

As I’ve participated in them consistently over time, I have found that my overall satisfaction with life has continued to spiral upwards, leaving me feeling joy-filled and happy (for the most part).

That’s why I’d like to share with you….

5 Practices for Creating More Presence, Purpose & Joy in Your Life

Practice 1: Cultivate a Holistic “Morning Ritual”

The way we spend our first morning hours sets the tone for the entire day ahead. So I encourage you to take a little time mapping out the elements which your ideal morning routine would include, and how long you need to spend on each item.

When I started to focus on my morning routine with the support from business mentor Eben Pagan, he encouraged doing this routine at the exact same time each day. But I found that I personally need a bit more freedom and flow.

My own routine typically takes at least 90 minutes, so I’m now often getting up earlier so I can feel spacious and not rushed. I include at least 30 minutes of meditation, preparing a healthy meal and drinking plenty of water, taking my herbal supplements, a shower, perhaps some yoga, and texting my close friends or family some little “love notes” to start their day. I also answer any quick and time-sensitive requests from my friends, family and team (for example, someone might ask me: Want to get together for a hike this week? If so, when?)

I find the more that I engage with this morning ritual on a regular basis, the more present I can be for all the many activities of my life… and the more I am able to enjoy it all.
Practice 2: Invite Spirit to Co-Create with You

Many of us are interested in collaborating more deeply with Spirit to co-create our lives, but it’s not always clear how to do that in a consistent way. This past year, my colleague and “soul sister,” Miranda MacPherson, suggested that I explore working with four key questions from The Course of Miracles.

Essentially, after you engage in a meditation practice to clear your mind and open your heart, when you are in a very still place, you simply ask Spirit to engage with you in dialogue. And then you drop in each of the following questions, like dropping stones into a still pond. Finally, you take notes on the answers that arise and then act on what you hear.

(Note: You can either ask for more general guidance, or if there’s a specific topic where you are seeking specific guidance, you can focus there.)

Here are the questions:

What wants to be received?

What wants to be known?

What wants to be released?

What wants to be done?

When doing this on your own, you may wonder if the answers you are receiving are truly coming from Spirit or from your mind. My suggestion would be to just do your best to glean clear wisdom. And then offer this prayer (as also suggested by Miranda): “Spirit, if I am moving in the wrong direction here, please interrupt me and make it obvious that I am off course. With grace and ease please!”

To really enhance your co-creative relationship with Spirit, I suggest that at least once a week, you ask these questions after meditation to get inspired guidance on your path.
Practice 3: Get a Sense of Who You Want to BE
& How You Want To FEEL

Most of us begin the new year by creating a long laundry list of intentions and resolutions. And many of us also fall off-track with those intentions within a few months.

But as a starting point this year, I want to encourage you to first focus on the woman you want to BE in the new year. What’s really most important to you? What do you want to be known for? What’s the contribution that you want to make to your family, your community and our planet? When you begin to answer those questions, they can serve as a rudder to steer you in the right direction… without getting overly focused on exactly HOW those things may manifest.

For me personally, I want to be known as a trustworthy friend and an open-hearted leader who sets aside quality time for the people and causes that I care most about. And how you want to FEEL?

For women, how we feel is equally important, if not more important, to what we accomplish. We value the journey itself, and we want it to be as aligned and enjoyable as possible.

So instead of making a certain amount of money, you may want to feel abundant, and that feeling could be manifested from a wide variety of events (both external and internal).

Instead of losing weight, you may want to feel attractive. Instead of setting a certain exercise goal, you may want to focus on feeling vital and amazing in your body. As you focus on the feeling states you want to experience, you allow the Universe to help create those experiences with you, perhaps in ways that you never imagined.

And as you do so, you will feel more and more deeply aligned with your purpose in a uniquely feminine way!

Practice 4: Practice Joy Breathing to Revitalize Your System

There are so many things that can throw us out of balance on any given day. We receive unexpected news, we are faced with a huge traffic jam, we get into a dispute with a loved one or a colleague… the list goes on and on. So it’s important to have at least one practice available that you can use to quickly restore balance to your system and come back to your center.

I personally engage in a practice that I call “Joy Breathing,” which I’ve adapted from some simple heart-centered techniques developed by the Heartmath Institute. I’m happy to share it with you here. If you weave this practice into your morning ritual each morning for next week, you will have it at your fingertips when a challenge arises. This whole process should take no more than 1-2 minutes.

Slow down and create some sacred space for yourself. Start by taking a few, deep breaths. If you are in a safe place, close your eyes or relax your gaze. Tune in with your body and your being. Notice the feeling state that you’re in right now.

If there’s any feeling of stress or anxiety, acknowledge it. Then imagine that as you exhale, you are releasing as much of that energy from your body as possible. If you’re in an open state, a good state, also acknowledge that, and be present with that feeling.

Now, shift your attention to the heart area and imagine that you are breathing directly in and out from your heart. As you’re breathing in, imagine that you are breathing in a state of joy. On the exhale, you can continue to release anything that feels like a lower vibration, a lower frequency than this state of ease or joy.

Ask yourself, “What color would be most helpful to restore me to a space of joy and calm right now?” Allow yourself to intuit that color, allowing it to fill your body and flow into the space around your body.

And next, slowly open your eyes. Come back to your setting where you are in this moment.

As you come out of this brief meditation, notice if there’s been a shift in your inner state of being. Then take a moment to commit to leading the rest of your day from this state of joy as much as possible.
Practice 5:
Express Your Love

Most of us are aware of the benefits of cultivating gratitude on a regular basis, but I want to encourage us to go even farther. I was gifted with a T-shirt recently that bears the slogan, “I LOVE my life!” I often wear this shirt to bed, and when I do, my husband often asks me, “So what are you loving about your life right now?”

There are so many aspects of my life that I really DO love, and I appreciate the opportunity to stop and notice those things and then EXPRESS them. It’s joyful for me to then take it even further and send out little love notes to those people that I am really appreciating a lot (often as part of my morning ritual). I also find value in expressing my LOVE to the Universe and all the abundance and magic that is showered upon me (usually as part of my early meditation).

My colleague Lynne Twist often says, “What you appreciate, APPRECIATES!” So I want to encourage you to place your attention on the bounty you already have in your life, knowing that the more you really love (or at least accept) your current reality, the better it will continue to get… and the more joy and passion you will feel on a daily basis.


Taken together, these 5 rituals can create a very strong foundation for the year ahead. You’ll feel more present in each moment and more available to the experiences unfolding each day. You’ll allow your innate love and passion to flow with this easy practice to restore you back to balance when things go awry.

And you’ll have a deeper sense of your true feminine purpose and what truly matters.

Here’s to a great year ahead!

Learn more about Devaa and her offerings at http://www.devaa.com

Fire Up Your Energy Chakras for the New Year

Healer's outstretched open hand surrounded by random wise healing words on a rustic stone effect background
Healer’s outstretched open hand surrounded by random wise healing words on a rustic stone effect background


By Phyllis S. Quinlan, PhD, RN-BC Originally Posted on December 21, 2015 by in  

Fire up your energy chakras to rebalance your energy and feel more alive.


As someone who counsels caregivers, I’ve found that many suffer energy deficits that I can “see” in their aura. Everyone has an aura, an enveloping, protective field of electromagnetic particles that can extend from a few inches to as far as several yards beyond our physical body. Each person has a dynamic, unique aura that vibrates and changes in response to one’s health, attitude, environment, and life experience. The aura is constantly shifting in size, shape, and color, depending on a person’s thoughts and emotions. The frequency at which your aura is vibrating can influence what and whom you attract into your life.

Our aura consists of seven major layers, each powered by one of the corresponding seven major energy centers known as chakras. When a chakra is “blocked,” a wide range of mental, emotional, and physical conditions can present. Maintaining a healthy, balanced chakra system can result in sustaining a bright, vibrant aura fully capable of enhancing your perception and achieving harmony while protecting you from harm.

So what is a chakra?

Chakra is a Sanskrit word that means spinning wheel. These cone-shaped rotating energy vortexes control the flow of subtle energies that serve as a connection between our spiritual and physical bodies. They are vertically aligned and are located at strategic points from the base of the spine (root chakra) to the top of the head (crown chakra). Each center vibrates at a frequency that is usually undetectable by the human eye and produces a resonance to a specific color, scent, and sound as individual as a fingerprint.

They represent energy

Each chakra is a focal point for spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental energies, the network through which the mind, body, and spirit interact as one holistic system. Each corresponds to specific aspects of our consciousness and has their own individual characteristics and functions. The goal in working with and understanding chakras is to create a sense of wellbeing, integration, and wholeness within ourselves, to help us make our choices and decisions from a place of being centered, balanced, and aware, rather than being influenced by external forces or out-of-control emotions.

An Overview of the Chakra Systemchakras


Chakra Location Color Governs Too Open Blocked Balanced
1St ChakraBase/Root Base of the spine, coccyx Red Physical security, survival, sense of belonging Materialistic, self-centered, bullying Fearful, low self esteem, needy High physical energy, grounded, self-mastery
2nd ChakraSacral From below the navel to above the hips Orange Group relationships, humor, self-control, ability to flow with change Manipulative, strong personal power needs Overly sensitive, hard on oneself, feels guilt for no reason Trusting, expressive, understands ones personal needs, creative, honors relationships
3rd  ChakraSolar Plexus From above the navel to below the sternum Yellow Relationship with yourself, acceptance of your place in the word, self esteem Angry, controlling, workaholic, judgmental Overly concerned about the opinions of others, needs constant reassurance Spontaneous, respects self and others, has true personal power
4th ChakraHeart Across the chest extending to the fingertips Green Love, ability to forgive, compassion Co-dependent, possessive, offers love on  condition, withholds emotions to punish, dramatic Feels unworthy to receive love, fears rejection, Loves unconditionally, nurturing
5th  ChakraThroat From above the shoulders to below the nose Blue Communication clear expression Self -righteous, dogmatic, arrogant Cannot speak ones truth, inconsistent, Good communicator, artistic, inspired
6th ChakraIntuition From above the nose to the level of the eye brows Indigo The ability to perceive and understand what is going on around you, understanding spiritual information Excessive worry, intense dreams, anxiety, phobias Fear of success, undisciplined The ability to  have insights & experience unusual phenomena, highly intuitive, little attachment to material things
7th ChakraCrown Top of the head Violet Connection to higher power, spirituality Difficulty dealing staying in and dealing with reality Inability to make decisions, materialism Magnetic personality, at peace with self

Methods for Balancing Your Energy Centers

Whether you’re an exhausted caregiver or just someone whose chakra energy is unbalanced, there are specific things you can do to rebalance your energy and feel better. 

Eat Food Rich In Color: 

  • Eat and drink as many foods and beverages with color as you can so that your chakra centers stay well fueled. This is especially important during the winter months when so much of what we see is black, white and gray.
  • If you feel the need to enhance the energy of one particular chakra, increase the intake of that particular color. For example, when you are feeling closed off from your intuitive ability, eating indigo-colored food such as eggplant, and drinking indigo-colored beverages such as grape juice, can help you unblock that center and reconnect you to your sixth sense. 

Use Color Breathing: 

  • When you sense that one center is a bit out of control, envision yourself breathing that chakra’s unique color in through the anatomical area corresponding with that center, and then envision exhaling the chakra color of the center you are looking to strengthen.
  • For example, when you feel your heart racing, visualize that you are inhaling the color green through your sternum and then visualize exhaling red through the soles of your feet. This will help to remove the excess energy from one center (heart center) and anchor or ground you more to your base (mother earth) center. This is especially helpful when you feel yourself becoming angry or anxious, or when you need to focus when you are feeling distracted. 

Do Yoga: 

  • Many of the yoga poses help open or strengthen your centers. Yoga poses can help you stretch and tone your internal and external body. In addition, yoga exercises can help you to flush your body of the physical, emotional and mental tensions that maybe blocking your chakras. Many biofeedback approaches to wellness are based in this approach. 

Bring Color Into Your Environment:

  • Invest in a maroon or red chair for your office or workspace. Placing this color close to your root chakra helps keep you grounded during busy, stressful days. Surround yourself with color. This does not necessarily mean painting every wall a different color. You can bring color in through art, pillows, plants, and decorative accessories.

Do Visualization Exercises:

  • When you are in the shower, envision that the shower water is the brilliant white light coming from the Universeand washing over you. Invite this pure white light to enter through your crown chakra at the top of your head and saturate all subsequent lower chakras to refresh and balance each center. You can add a citrus scented shampoo to this exercise for an added boost. Citrus has a unique added characteristic of being able to cleanse energy fields. 

Adopt a Mantra: 

  • The word mantra is taken from the original Sanskrit and means “sacred counsel.” A mantra can be a phrase or even a single word that embraces or represents the changes you wish to manifest in your own life. Reciting a mantra can help settle you during trying moments of the day, and refocus your energy on the new direction and goals you have set for yourself. Some recommendations are: I accept myself unconditionally, I deserve happiness, I am patient and compassionate.

Caregiving is a marathon not a sprint. It is vital that you take good care of yourself so that you can remain healthy while caring for others. I hope these simple methods help you begin to achieve that sense of health, happiness, and wellbeing that is your birthright. All the best in the New Year from my home to yours, OmMaNiPadMeHum: I honor the life force within you.