Sanity SaversTM and More...
February 2008


The weather has been erratic in most of the world and many of us are feeling a bit uneasy in response to the apparent unpredictability of nature. We are aware of unpredictable change in our lives as well. Two life issues that can be challenging as we try to keep our balance and our sanity have to do with caring for a spouse who has a chronic illness and finding our passion as we watch our children grow up and anticipate their leaving home.

Children leaving home is inevitable but still may be perceived as a surprise. Caring for a spouse who has a chronic illness may be a surprise but is not inevitable. Both require our attention to adaptation. In Caring For A Partner With A Chronic Ilness, I suggest ways to address the transformation in each of you and your relationship while being conscious of taking care of yourself in the process.

Many of us long for finding our passion within. We wonder what we will do when our children leave the nest. In this month's tips, Finding Your Passion, I suggest reasons why it is useful to do this before they leave the nest. There is great value in beginning to explore the richness of your inner life and see what will peak your interest and passion. So, as your children grow up and leave, you will be able to transition more easily.

Once again thank you for helping to get the word out about Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life.

Check my website, www.drdaleatkins.com for updates on my appearances related to my newest book, Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life. For those of you with wedding related questions, please see my column on WeddingChannel.com at: www.weddingchannel.com/ui/buildArticle.action?assetUID=90252&s=84&t=71&p=106184112&c=90252&l=137006. And if you would like me to speak to your group or organization, please contact me directly at dale@drdaleatkins.com or contact the Speakers' Bureau at HarperCollins.

I appreciate you sharing this newsletter with your friends, loved ones and colleagues by clicking Send to a Friend button below.

Wishing you a Happy New Year along with health, peace and balance in 2008.


In this issue
  • Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life
    In Bookstores!
  • Sanity SaversTM
    Caring For A Partner With A Chronic Ilness
  • Happenings
  • Sanity SaversTM
    A Good Daily Habit
  • Sanity SaversTM TIPS
    Finding Your Passion:
    As Your Children Grow Up
  • A Thought

  • Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life
    In Bookstores!
    SS Book Cover

    SANITY SAVERS: Tips for Women to Live A Balanced Life is in bookstores and is filled with suggestions to save your sanity every day of the year.

    A must for any woman seeking to find her balance!

    Sanity SaversTM
    Caring For A Partner With A Chronic Ilness

    You vowed to stay together in sickness and in health. But, in fact, you did not really think that you would REALLY be in the position, at this point of your life, to be caring for your significant other who is managing a chronic illness. Much of your pattern and rhythm as a couple will be reflected in the way you deal with each other and this particular health challenge. Think of the way you want to be married and the roles you are willing and able to take on, and those you aren't, in order to save your sanity, your respective dignities, and your marriage by caring for your partner with heartfelt compassion, kindness and humor.

    First and foremost, be an adult. You may be asking, "why me" and feel disappointed, angry, tired, or restless. It is normal to feel this way. Try to maintain self-control and respect instead of taking out your frustrations on your partner. It is imperative to take care of yourself, eat healthfully, exercise, and stay connected to your friends. Seek a support group for other couples who are experiencing similar issues with this illness or find a couples' therapist if either of you blame the other or you are both having difficulty adjusting.

    It is also important to find appropriate roles. Do your research; find out what is needed and what your role will be in helping your spouse to deal with this medical condition and change in your life. Do you have to get a job? Will care need to be provided while you are out of the house? Who is in charge of making dietary decisions? If your spouse is able to take responsibility for a medication regime, exercise program, or doing projects that retain his or her role in the family, marriage and community, make sure that happens.

    Additionally, become a support player. Depending on the condition and the restrictions, at all costs, maintain dignity and respect for your partner. Discuss what works and what doesn't. Be aware of some shifts in your roles, even if you assume more significant care giving. You are not to become your spouse's parent. You are a supporting player.

    Finally, participate in couple things. Do as many things together as a couple that permit you to be conscious of the illness but do not totally focus on it. If your spouse tires easily at the end of the day and evenings out are no longer viable, meet friends on a weekend afternoon for a movie or lunch. If you are music buffs, attend uncrowded concert rehearsals (often open to the public in the mornings or afternoons). Your life will change. It does not need to stop.

    Remember, although your partner is living with a chronic illness, there are ways to preserve and deepen your bond and find unique ways to "marry" your new roles with the challenges you both face.


    TODAY Show (NBC)
    Please check website, www.drdaleatkins.com, for updated listings.

    New Morning Show
    Hallmark Channel
    Please check website, www.drdaleatkins.com, for updated listings.

    KTSF San Francisco TV News
    February 14: Marriage Myths

    WNPR Radio - The Real Life Survival Guide, hosted by Bruce Barber
    February 10th: 3PM: Topic: Relationships and Dating
    Listen at www.wnpr.org; View interview at www.rlsguide.com.

    Sanity SaversTM
    A Good Daily Habit

    Creating Calm

    We all have tumultuous days in our lives. You may not believe you can create calm in the midst of such chaos, but you can.

    If you are facing a problem, quiet yourself, breathe deeply, and be open to a resolution. If you can't figure it out, quiet your mind and come back to it later. While being patient and realistic, you can face a challenge and give it your best shot.

    Bring attention to your ability to focus on your inner strength when facing difficulty.

    Sanity SaversTM TIPS
    Finding Your Passion:
    As Your Children Grow Up

    For many women, putting everyone first is just the way life is. You may have stopped a career or pursued another one when you had children. Whatever you did, the child rearing years were part of "sequencing" your interests, passions, and careers to handle all that was going on in your life.

    But as the kids go onto school, become teens, join the military, go off to college, enter the workforce, and move on with their lives, you realize it may be the time to put yourself first for a change. At midlife you may feel restlessness and, maybe, for the first time in your life, can finally explore your passions. This is the time to consider the rest of your life and what you would love to do with it.

    • Re-discover - Integrate as many of the things that you once loved back into your life: sports, more arts, more time with spouse and friends, more travel. Give yourself time to reacquaint yourself with or relearn the skills you once had. Quiet yourself and listen to the voice inside of you which may not be used to being heard.

    • Explore - If you're not sure what your passions are, take classes, read about, and try new things. Don't limit yourself. You may find something you love by taking a circuitous route or rule out something that isn't what you love to do. Remember you are exploring. Give yourself a broad canvas on which to work. Talk with people who know you and those who are new in your lives. What do they see in you that you may not recognize?

    • Keep Up - If you can't commit to a new career, dabble in your area of expertise through meaningful volunteer experiences. When the time comes, you will be able to dedicate yourself more to projects that are deeper and more complex.

    • Model - Allow your children to see you discovering parts of yourself and a zest for life in areas that are not about them. It is healthy for children to see their parents as "whole" people with interests and passions and knowledge and "lives" that bring them joy and enrichment. Talk to them about your interests and what you do when they are not around.

      You will feel more prepared to let your children go so they can build their own lives and discover who they are if you embrace the things you love as you discover new interests and passions.

    A Thought

    Everything works out in the end. If it has not worked out, it is not the end.


    DALE V. ATKINS Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist, lecturer and commentator in the media who appears on the Today show.

    She has more than twenty- five years of experience and focuses on living a balanced life, parenting, aging well, managing stress, life & work transitions, family connections and healthy relationships.

    Dr. Atkins is the author and/or co-editor of several books including:

  • Sisters
  • From the Heart:
    Men and Women Write Their Private Thoughts about their Private Lives
  • Families and their Hearing-Impaired Children
  • I'm OK, You're My Parents
    How to Overcome Guilt, Let Go of Anger and Create a Relationship that Works
  • Wedding Sanity Savers
    How to Handle the Stickiest Dilemmas, Scrapes and Questions that Arise on the Road to Your Perfect Day.
  • And her new book . . .

  • Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life
  • .

    Find out more....
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