Vaishnavas C.A.R.E. (Counseling, Assistance, Resource, and Education for the Terminally ill & Those in Need) is dedicated to
ISKCON Founder-Acarya His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada who exemplified how to live one's life in Krsna consciousness, and in the end, taught us how to leave this temporary world of birth and death.
It is in his honor that we seek to give care and comfort
to those who wish to follow in his sublime footsteps.
His Grace Bhutatma Das (ACBSP)
We sadly bring you the news that His Grace Bhutatma Das (ACBSP) passed away from this world in Laguna Beach, California (U.S.) on Srila Prabhupada's Disappearance Day. Bhutatma Prabhu had been battling cancer.
Kindly keep this soul in your prayers. Please pray he will be eternally situated at the lotus feet of our beloved Srila Prabhupada and Lord Krsna. Thank you.
Always your servant,
Sangita devi dasi
Newest Vaishnavas CARE Slideshow Honoring the Departed Devotees:
Thank you to Dayavira Das, Hillsborough, North Carolina (U.S.A.) for producing these inspiring slideshows glorifying these wonderful Vaishnavas!!
(Video 1 minute)
If you would like to view all (or just some) of our 14 Vaishnavas CARE Slideshows Honoring the Departed Vaishnavas, please click on the button below to visit our page with all of the glorious slideshows produced by His Grace Dayavira Das. Each slideshow takes 1 minute to watch.
Her Grace Krishnanandini Dasi (ACBSP)
Passed Away From This World
Hare Krishna! It is with heavy hearts we are sharing the news of Her Grace Krishnanandini (ACBSP) leaving this world after a painful battle with cancer. She left her body this morning at 8:50 a.m.
Krishnanandini Mataji was a fearless daughter of Srila Prabhupada, a spiritual warrior, a powerful preacher, and a living example of a true compassionate Vaishnavi. She was an amazing mother, wife, mentor, caregiver, friend and more. Krishnanandini Devi Dasi will be dearly missed. Please send your prayers to the family during their time of loss.
From her family: "A spirit soul - truly blessed by the best - made her transition to be with her Guru Srila Prabhupada and her beloved Lord Krishna this morning. At the time of her passing, she was surrounded by her husband, sister, and many of her children with Srila Prabhupada’s chanting playing in the background. We will update about services at a later time. Thank you for grace and consideration."
You will truly be missed.
Please Pray for these Vaishnavas.
Kindly Pray for everyone who is suffering with Covid-19 around the world.
Articles & Quotes
Caregiver Stress and Burnout
The demands of caregiving can be exhausting and overwhelming. But there are steps you can take to rein in stress and regain a sense of balance, joy, and hope in your life.
What is caregiver burnout?
While caring for a loved one can be very rewarding, it also involves many stressors. And since caregiving is often a long-term challenge, the emotional impact can snowball over time. You may face years or even decades of caregiving responsibilities. It can be particularly disheartening if you feel that you’re in over your head, if there’s no hope that your family member will get better, or if, despite your best efforts, their condition is gradually deteriorating.
If the stress of caregiving is left unchecked, it can take a toll on your health, relationships, and state of mind—eventually leading to burnout, a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion. And when you get to that point, both you and the person you’re caring for suffer.
That’s why taking care of yourself isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. Cultivating your own emotional and physical well-being is just as important as making sure your family member gets to their doctor’s appointment or takes their medication on time.
Signs and symptoms of
caregiver stress and burnout:
Learning to recognize the signs of caregiver stress and burnout is important, so you can take immediate action to prevent things from becoming worse and start improving the situation for both you and the person you’re caring for.
Common signs and symptoms of
Anxiety, depression, irritability.
Feeling tired and run down.
Overreacting to minor nuisances.
New or worsening health problems.
Feeling increasingly resentful.
Drinking, smoking, or eating more.
Cutting back on leisure activities.
Common signs and symptoms of
You have much less energy than you once had.
It seems like you catch every cold or bout of flu that’s going around.
You’re constantly exhausted, even after sleeping or taking a break.
You neglect your own needs, either because you’re too busy or you don’t care anymore.
Your life revolves around caregiving, but it gives you little satisfaction.
You have trouble relaxing, even when help is available.
You’re increasingly impatient and irritable with the person you’re caring for.
You feel helpless and hopeless.
How to cope:
While caring for a loved one will never be stress-free, the following tips can help you to lighten the load, avoid the symptoms of caregiver burnout, and find more balance in your life.
Avoid caregiver burnout by feeling empowered:
Feeling powerless is the number one contributor to burnout and depression. And it’s an easy trap to fall into as a caregiver, especially if you feel stuck in a role you didn’t expect or helpless to change things for the better. But no matter the situation, you aren’t powerless. This is especially true when it comes to your state of mind. You can’t always get the extra time, money, or physical assistance you’d like, but you can always get more happiness and hope.
Practice acceptance. When faced with the unfairness of a loved one’s illness or the burden of caregiving, there’s often a need to make sense of the situation and ask “Why?” But you can spend a tremendous amount of energy dwelling on things you can’t change and for which there are no clear answers.And at the end of the day, you won’t feel any better.Try to avoid the emotional trap of feeling sorry for yourself or searching for someone to blame.
Embrace your caregiving choice. Acknowledge that, despite any resentments or burdens you feel, you have made a conscious choice to provide care. Focus on the positive reasons behind that choice. Perhaps you provide care to repay your parent for the care they gave you growing up. Or maybe it’s because of your values or the example you want to set for your children. These deep, meaningful motivations can help sustain you through difficult times.
Look for the silver lining. Think about the ways caregiving has made you stronger or how it’s brought you closer to the person you’re taking care of or to other family members.
Don’t let caregiving take over your life. Since it’s easier to accept a difficult situation when there are other areas of your life that are rewarding, it’s important not to let caregiving take over your whole existence. Invest in things that give you meaning and purpose whether it’s your family, church, a favorite hobby, or your career.
Focus on the things you can control. You can’t wish for more hours in the day or force your brother to help out more. Rather than stressing out over things you can’t control, focus on how you choose to react to problems.
Celebrate the small victories. If you start to feel discouraged, remind yourself that all your efforts matter. You don’t have to cure your loved one’s illness to make a difference. Don’t underestimate the importance of making your loved one feel more safe, comfortable, and loved!
Get the appreciation you need
Feeling appreciated can go a long way toward not only accepting a stressful situation, but enjoying life more. Studies show that caregivers who feel appreciated experience greater physical and emotional health. Caregiving actually makes them happier and healthier, despite its demands. But what can you do if the person you’re caring for is no longer able to feel or show their appreciation for your time and efforts?
Imagine how your loved one would respond if they were healthy. If they weren’t preoccupied with illness or pain (or disabled by dementia), how would your loved one feel about the love and care you’re giving? Remind yourself that the person would express gratitude if they were able.
Applaud your own efforts. If you’re not getting external validation, find ways to acknowledge and reward yourself. Remind yourself of how much you are helping. If you need something more concrete, try making a list of all the ways your caregiving is making a difference. Refer back to it when you start to feel low.
Talk to a supportive family member or friend. Positive reinforcement doesn’t have to come from the person you’re caring for. When you’re feeling unappreciated, turn to friends and family who will listen to you and acknowledge your efforts.
Ask for caregiving help
Taking on all of the responsibilities of caregiving without regular breaks or assistance is a surefire recipe for caregiver burnout. Don’t try to do it all alone.
Look into respite care. Enlist friends and family who live near you to run errands, bring a hot meal, or watch the patient so you can take a well-deserved break. Volunteers or paid help can also provide in-home services, either occasionally or on a regular basis. Or you can explore out-of-home respite programs such as adult day care centers and nursing homes.
Speak up. Don’t expect friends and family members to automatically know what you need or how you’re feeling. Be up front about what’s going on with you and the person that you’re caring for. If you have concerns or thoughts about how to improve the situation, express them, even if you’re unsure of how they’ll be received. Start a dialogue.
Spread the responsibility. Try to get as many family members involved as possible. Even someone who lives far away can help. You may also want to divide up caregiving tasks. One person can take care of medical responsibilities, another with finances and bills, and another with groceries and errands, for example.
Set up a regular check-in. Ask a family member, friend, or volunteer from your church or senior center to call you at a regular time (daily, weekly, or as often as you think you need it). This person can help you spread status updates and coordinate with other family members.
Say “yes” when someone offers assistance. Don’t be shy about accepting help. Let people feel good about supporting you. It’s smart to have a list ready of small tasks that others could easily take care of, such as picking up groceries or driving your loved one to an appointment.
Be willing to relinquish some control. Delegating is one thing, trying to control every aspect of care is another. People will be less likely to help if you micromanage, give orders, or insist on doing things your way.
Give yourself a break
As a busy caregiver, leisure time may seem like an impossible luxury. But you owe it to yourself—as well as to the person you’re caring for—to carve it into your schedule. Give yourself permission to rest and to do things that you enjoy on a daily basis. You will be a better caregiver for it.
There’s a difference between being busy and being productive. If you’re not regularly taking time-off to de-stress and recharge your batteries, you’ll end up accomplishing less in the long run. After a break, you should feel more energetic and focused, so you’ll quickly make up for your relaxation time.
Maintain your personal relationships. Don’t let your friendships get lost in the shuffle of caregiving. These relationships will help sustain you and keep you positive. If it’s difficult to leave the house, invite friends over to visit with you lunch or dinner.
Share your feelings. The simple act of expressing what you’re going through can be very cathartic. Sharing your feelings with family or friends won’t make you a burden to others. In fact, most people will be flattered that you trust them enough to confide in them, and it will only strengthen your bond.
Prioritize activities that bring you enjoyment. Make regular time for hobbies that bring you happiness, whether it’s reading, working in the garden, tinkering in your workshop, knitting, playing with the dogs, or watching the game.
Find ways to pamper yourself. Small luxuries can go a long way towards relieving stress and boosting your spirits. Light candles and take a long bath. Ask your spouse for a back rub. Get a manicure. Buy fresh flowers for the house. Whatever makes you feel special.
Make yourself laugh. Laughter is an excellent antidote to stress—and a little goes a long way. Read a funny book, watch a comedy, or call a friend who makes you laugh. And whenever you can, try to find the humor in everyday situations.
Get out of the house. Seek out friends, family, and respite care providers to step in with caregiving so you can have some time away from the home.
Take care of your own health
Think of your body like a car. With the right fuel and proper maintenance, it will run reliably and well. Neglect its upkeep and it will start to give you trouble. Don’t add to the stress of your caregiving situation with avoidable health woes.
Keep on top of your doctor visits. It’s easy to forget about your own health when you’re busy with a loved one’s care. Don’t skip check-ups or medical appointments. You need to be healthy in order to take good care of your family member.
Exercise. When you’re stressed and tired, the last thing you feel like doing is exercising. But you’ll feel better afterwards. Exercise is a powerful stress reliever and mood enhancer. Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes on most days—break it up into three 10-minute sessions if that’s easier. When you exercise regularly, you’ll also find it boosts your energy level and helps you fight fatigue.
Practice a relaxation technique. A daily relaxation or meditation practice can help you relieve stress and boost feelings of joy and well-being. Try yoga, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or mindfulness meditation. Even a few minutes in the middle of an overwhelming day can help you feel more centered.
Eat well. Nourish your body with fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, and olive oil. Unlike sugar and caffeine—which provide a quick pick-me-up and an even quicker crash—these foods will fuel you with steady energy.
Don’t skimp on sleep. Cutting back on time in bed is counterproductive—at least if your goal is to accomplish more. Most people need more sleep than they think (8 hours is the norm). When you get less, your mood, energy, productivity, and ability to handle stress will suffer.
Join a caregiver support group
A caregiver support group is a great way to share your troubles and find people who are going through similar experiences each day. If you can’t leave the house, many online groups are also available.
In most support groups, you’ll talk about your problems and listen to others talk; you’ll not only get help, but you’ll also be able to help others. Most importantly, you’ll find out that you’re not alone. You’ll feel better knowing that other people are in the same situation, and their knowledge can be invaluable, especially if they’re caring for someone with the same illness as your loved one.
Local vs. Online Support Groups for Caregivers
Local support groups:
People live near each other and meet in a given place each week or month.People are from all over the world and have similar problems.
Meetings provide you with face-to-face contact and a chance to make new friends who live near you.You meet online, through email lists, websites, message boards, or social media.
The meetings get you out of the house, get you moving, provide a social outlet, and reduce feelings of isolation.You can get support without leaving your house, which is good for people with limited mobility or transportation problems.
Meetings are at a set time. You will need to attend them regularly to get the full benefit of the group.You can access the group whenever it’s convenient for you or when you most need help.
Since the people in the support group are from your area, they’ll be more familiar with local resources and issues. If your problem is very unusual, a rare disease, for example, there may not be enough people for a local group, but there will always be enough people online.
To find a community support group, check the yellow pages, ask your doctor or hospital, or call a local organization that deals with your loved one’s health problem. To find an online support group, visit the websites of organizations dedicated to your loved one’s health problem.
Author: Melinda Smith, M.A.
"The Supreme Lord says...
I have arranged so much misery, pain, trouble and danger, not to make you suffer, but to teach you that all this misery is unnecessary; so you will search for that happiness which is eternally desirable, the joy that is eternally adorable.”
--Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura
(From the Mahabharata)
For Caregivers, Everywhere,
From all of us at Vaishnavas CARE.
Are you Living with a Chronic Illness?
You are NOT Alone!
Mindfulness for anxiety:
A caregiver’s guide on being
in the moment
by Elizz Authors
Let’s face it: As the caregiver for your aging parent, some level of anxiety comes with the territory. It’s not an easy thing to do day in and day out, especially if your parent doesn’t always want your help.
That’s why it’s so important that you remember to take care of yourself. Part of this self-care is physical, and part of it is mental — not letting your anxieties overwhelm you is an important step toward being the best caregiver you can be. This is especially crucial if you’re caring for someone who has anxiety.
Mindfulness meditation is one of the best ways for caregivers like you to calm these stressful feelings, notice or watch your thoughts, and remain in the present moment. And you do it all while accepting the moment for what it is, without judgement. That’s not only beneficial to you, it’s beneficial for Mom or Dad because you will be able to stay fully focused on whatever task is at hand.
So what exactly is mindfulness?
Being mindful means slowing down and focusing on the present moment — it means being as aware as possible about the current sensations, thoughts, and bodily states that you’re experiencing. Jon Kabat-Zinn, author, professor, and creator of the mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program, defines it this way: Awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.
Think of it as turning down the volume in your mind. It’s a great way to refocus on the activities of daily life and not let your mind get ahead of you.
Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of mindfulness for anxiety and what kind of simple practices you can try right away.
The benefits of mindfulness
Mindfulness meditation can help to significantly reduce anxiety symptoms and even depression — and it’s not just us saying it. The research proves it. Practicing mindfulness for anxiety helps you to focus on the present moment and keeps you from dwelling on the past or stressing out about the future.
It’s very easy for caregivers to think about the past in a negative way (i.e. I should have remembered this, I should have done that…) or worry about the future (i.e. What am I going to do if my siblings don’t agree with me about caring for Mom and Dad?). But these kinds of anxious thoughts simply aren’t productive.
Mindfulness training helps to calm the mind and eases feelings of angst about the past or future, ultimately helping you perform better in the moment.
It’s important to note that mindfulness meditation isn’t helpful for everyone, and could actually prove harmful for those with severe anxiety or mental illness. If you’re struggling with these issues, you may want to speak with a healthcare professional before giving mindfulness meditation a try.
If you do not have severe anxiety, the benefits of mindfulness can include:
Increased body awareness: Mindfulness meditation can help you to notice subtle changes or sensations within your own body, allowing you to recognize when anxiety is occurring and then regulating yourself.
Improved self-perception: Mindfulness can also improve your own image of yourself, leading to increased self-esteem and acceptance of your own thoughts and actions.
Better physical health: Mindfulness techniques have been shown to have many physical health benefits for those who practice them, including reduced blood pressure and better sleep.
Another great thing about mindfulness in general is that it can apply to almost anything. Take eating a meal, for example.
You can mindlessly eat your meal without even thinking about it, or you can slow down and consider the tastes, textures, and smells of the different foods that make up your meal. You’ll feel much more relaxed while eating, and you’ll find that you enjoy the experience as a whole. You may also be less likely to fall into a pattern of stress-eating.
So, what can you do to start being more mindful?
Let’s take a look at a few simple mindfulness exercises you can do right away. And remember: You can also suggest a few of these to your mom or dad. Mindfulness can benefit them as well.
Simple mindfulness practices to try today
You don’t have to hire a counselor or search out a personalized meditation guide to become more mindful. There are many things you can do during the tasks of daily life to practice mindfulness and help center yourself.
Take a breath
The first and simplest mindfulness-based stress reduction practice is to stop and take a few deep breaths. Focus on your breathing for a few moments, and pay attention to the way your chest rises and falls. If your mind wanders to something else, refocus on your breathing.
Go on a walk
Few things can improve your state of mind and overall well-being like a walk in the great outdoors. Getting outside and concentrating on the sights, smells, and sounds around you is a great way to focus your mind in the present. It doesn’t have to be a long walk; just a quick pass around the block will work fine to reap the benefits of being in nature.
Setting aside time on a daily or weekly basis to journal is another good way to practice mindfulness for anxiety. You can journal before going to bed at night or first thing when you wake up. It’s entirely up to you, and it’s a great way to get thoughts out of your head and onto paper.
Remember: Journaling can be an incredibly helpful tool for greater self-awareness when done correctly.
Unplug from social media
Social media can sometimes trigger negative thoughts and contribute to an overall stress response that you don’t want. Try “unplugging” and logging out of all your social media accounts for a day, a week, a month — it’s up to you. Simply turning off notifications on your apps can free up your mind and allow you to stay focused on more important things in your life. You might be amazed at how calm and centered you feel after only a short time.
Pause in the car
Sometimes anxiety can start to build up in the car, especially if you’re running late, stuck in traffic, or traveling toward a stressful situation. At stoplights, take a few slow and deep breaths, focusing on the process of moving air in and out of your lungs. You’ll be surprised at the difference it makes during your travel time and how you feel once you’ve reached your destination.
Put aside a few minutes every day to doodle or color. Adult coloring books are a great choice. The physical act of doodling or coloring with your hands helps to focus your mind and give it a break from the worries of daily life.
Meditation practices such as guided meditation don’t require working directly with a counselor or signing up for a class. Today, you can find many free guided meditations online, and there are smartphone apps to help you as well. For many people, it’s a great way to practice mindfulness on a daily basis.
Keep in mind that you might not feel an immediate release of anxiety when you first try these techniques. Like most things, mindfulness requires practice and consistency to unlock its greatest benefits. It may take days, weeks, or months to really feel as though your efforts are making a difference. So don’t give up — continue practicing mindfulness every day, and eventually you’ll see results.
Remember: While mindfulness meditation can work wonders for many people, it’s not always enough. For those with severe anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, or other serious mental health conditions, solutions like professional health care, counseling, medication, or other methods might be necessary. If you or your parent is experiencing any of these more serious issues, seek help.
Using mindfulness for anxiety
Mindfulness means focusing on the present moment and being aware of your thoughts and body, and accepting the moment without judgement in order to reach a higher level of self-understanding and clarity. It’s especially useful for dealing with moments of anxiety. Practicing mindfulness exercises is a healthy technique for just about anyone, and it can be especially helpful for caregivers.
The great thing about the simple mindfulness practices described above is that they’re not just useful for you — they can be of great help to your mom or dad, too. You can even try incorporating them into your routines together.
Have you used mindfulness for anxiety? What do you do to reduce stress and stay in the present moment? We would love to hear more about your experience.
For Those Who Are Grieving a Loss...
you are not alone.
Grief Support Group
Are you a Vaishnava who is grieving a loss of a friend or loved one? Are you seeking a Grief Support Group specifically for Devotees of Lord Krishna?
Please visit our Vaishnavas CARE Grief Support Group Page on Facebook and join our exclusive, Private, Closed Grief Support Group. It is important to express your feelings of loss within a group of like-minded people who can relate to you and your expressions of grief. Currently, we have 140 devotees who registered for the Grief Support Group.
Kindly visit our "Vaishnavas CARE" Facebook page to register for our Online "Grief Support Group" especially for Devotees of Lord Krishna.
Co-facilitators for this one-of-a-kind support group for Vaishnavas are Sangita Devi Dasi, RN, Hospice & Palliative Care Nurse, President/Co-Founder of Vaishnavas CARE, and Student of Grief Counseling Certification (GC-C Program).
In addition, Taravali Devi Dasi, RN, BSN in Toronto, Canada who specializes in Hospice & Palliative Care and who started our Toronto Vaishnavas CARE Team several years ago with her husband, Kevala Bhakti Das, will also be co-facilitating the Vaishnavas CARE Grief Support Group as well.
Srila Prabhupada told his disciples that when we take one step closer to Lord Krishna, He sees our sincerity and takes a thousand steps towards us.
In the service of Srila Prabhupada and the Lord, we are here to assist you during your time of loss and grief. If you choose to join us in our "Safe and Private Space," we look forward to seeing you there. Kindly register for our Online "Vaishnavas CARE Grief Support Group" on Facebook. If you prefer one-on-one Grief Counseling by phone with our Licensed, Professional, Master's degreed Social Worker/Counselor, Janaki Devi Dasi, please write to us by clicking on the "Contact Us" button at the bottom of this HOME page. Thank you!