Caregivers are one of the most stressed populations.
Oh sure, there are EMTs, Emergency Room personnel, rescue workers, and firefighters, who manage through uncommon blazes in life… BUT, family caregivers are often left to manage ALONE. They don’t have buddies to share their experiences, frustrations, and joys with. And with this loneliness comes stress—high levels of stress.
Author, Paul Huljich was signing copies of his books at the American Library Association in Las Vegas when I spotted the bold-lettered cover– STRESS Pandemic.
As he signed a copy, I promised him and his publisher, that I would write a review. For the time being, I hoped reading this high-quality embossed second edition would help melt away the unusually high stress I’d been feeling.
Yet, this book made me feel a little uncomfortable. Should I review it or not? No other reviewer had mentioned what I experienced with this book. Is there something wrong with me? Do others lack guts to write what I so plainly see? Did these issues not matter to them? Ultimately, the answer came in the form of the title of an old western movie starring Clint Eastwood—The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
Huljich’s STRESS Pandemic reminds us to take care of ourselves.
He offers “The Nine Natural Steps” he followed to help cure himself of bipolar disorder.
The nine steps are: 1. Take Charge; 2. Kick Your Bad Habits, 3. Learn to Say No, 4. Affirmations 5. Exercise, 6. Nutrition, 7. Sleep, 8. The Power of Awareness, and 9. Don’t Give Up.
Although, you’ve likely seen these steps in other stress-reduction and self-care books, they are important reminders to help us lead healthier lives.
Huljich recommends practicing them for at least 30 days for them to become a habit and then continuing. They’re based on his extensive research, judging by the 80 pages of resources or 25% of the book.
Huljich’s story places him in a prime position to write about Stress—having succumbed and becoming a ward of the state.
He and his brothers founded and built a food business in New Zealand that they later sold for about $100 million. During this time, the accoutrements of wealth were hard to resist with the requisite mansion, yacht, and other material possessions. Somewhere along the way, his ambitions got the better of him and he suffered a mental breakdown and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which he claims he successfully reversed using the nine steps, above.
I wonder though, what about those reading this book, who live with chronic depression… who feel trapped with limited resources…. What about the family caregiver whose uninvolved children single-handedly cares for a spouse?
While these steps are important to regaining and maintaining good health, the challenge with these kinds of one-person-shares-his-experience-that-will-help-the-world is they’re not practical for all. My advice: Apply from here what feels right for you.
and the Ugly
The part that caused me angst—the author’s Donald Trump-style narcissism.
Instead of the implied first-person account, Huljich unnecessarily injects “I” and “my” throughout his writing. An example of this is in the first paragraph of the Affirmations chapter. The reader may be able to see beyond this if the self-love weren’t strengthened with every creatively executed illustration featuring a caricature of Huljich! Add to this, Huljich’s full-page color author photo within the book and the same almost full-body photo of Huljich on the back cover. (By comparison, most authors rely on a head and shoulder photo, if any at all.) Finally, each of the call-out quotes throughout the book bear his initials, PH.
The Bottom Line?
A good book to get you back on track to remembering important steps in reducing stress.
For example, I started walking again—not in the morning and in silence as Huljich recommends, but before dinner with my neighbor. I also am getting even better at saying, “No” in order to carve out a little time for myself.
No matter what your station in life—an overstressed caregiver trying to make ends meet or a high-ranking executive worth millions, Huljich is right, the STRESS Pandemic touches us all!