As a caregiver, it can become easy to put your needs aside to prioritize the child/children in your life with special needs. As a physician, I have seen the impact that childhood chronic illness has on the whole family unit. I have also seen that when family members practice self-care, there are dramatic improvements in their health AND the health of the child. I believe that practicing self-care and incorporating naturopathic medicine into this practice leads to healthier individuals and stronger family units.

My top recommendations for caregivers include mindfulness, movement and management. See below for more information that I hope you will find helpful.


It is common to associate the word mindfulness with envisioning a person meditating for extended periods of time (or that’s at least how I associate the word mindfulness!). However, there are many different techniques that you can implement that fit into your schedule and resonate with you. Here are some examples:

PRAYER: Prayer is a powerful tool for many people, both religious and non-religious alike. It can take the shape of memorized psalms or verses, chanting, singing, or quiet contemplation.

TAPPING: Known also as Emotional Freedom Technique or psychological acupressure, tapping utilizes meridian points to balance qi or “vital force.” One of my favorite points to tap when stressed is Kidney 27, located in the soft spot lateral to where the sternum and clavicle meet.

MANTRAS: You may have heard mantras in a yoga or meditation class, and while the ancient Sanskrit mantras (such as “Om”) can be very helpful, any short, positive saying repeated with intention can be just as meaningful.

My favorites: “Purpose over Perfect” and “I am enough, I do enough, I have enough”

JOURNALING: Keep it simple! Try writing one sentence per day and journaling at the same time each day for three weeks. Good topics can include documenting your dreams, gratitude, travel, good memories, or current feelings (good or bad).

MEDITATION: Meditation is a mindfulness practice which focuses on the breath, object, thought or activity to increase your attention and awareness to achieve mental clarity and calmness.

If you’re new at meditation, try some of these basic techniques to begin the art of calming your mind:

  • Sitting quietly for 2 minutes
  • Inhale through your nose to the count of 4, pause to the count of 1, and slowly exhale through your nose to the count of 8. Repeat.
  • Try guided meditations through apps such as Headspace, 10% Happier, Calm


Movement is essential to keeping your joints gliding smoothly, the stimulation of healthy endorphins, and ensuring natural detoxification and metabolic processes are optimized. Daily movement has been shown to impact the body both physically and mentally, reducing toxic load, elevating feelings of happiness and wellbeing–not to mention helping you shed extra weight. It might be difficult or uninspiring to go to the gym every day, so try to incorporate other exercises into your routine, such as walking, tennis, dancing, or yoga, as they may be able to fit into your schedule more easily. The most important thing is to create a routine that’s fun to do and works for you. Remember to start small and slowly build up your endurance and intensity, as this will ensure your safety and comfort. It’s also helpful to incorporate movement with the entire family, as it will increase compliance and bonding. Movement increases endorphins (your “feel-good neurotransmitters”) and helps to improve your mood by decreasing stress, anxiety, and depression. My favorite form of movement includes being outside in nature, so I that can reap the benefits of both increased activity and nature therapy.


One of the biggest ways to manage stress is by supporting your adrenals. Cortisol (your “stress hormone”) is produced by the adrenal glands, which sit on top of each kidney. It is responsible for the “fight or flight” response, the most basic response of our nervous system to stress. Cortisol plays a role in our ability to handle stress, metabolism, inflammation, blood sugar, blood pressure, and sleep/wake cycle, making its presence in healthy levels essential in keeping us well! The consequences of prolonged stress can result in the imbalance of cortisol in our bodies, and therefore can lead to various chronic illnesses. Symptoms of cortisol imbalance or “adrenal dysfunction” include the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Changing appetite
  • Changes in weight
  • Salt cravings
  • Low blood pressure
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Changes in sleep

Are you experiencing any of these symptoms? If so, you need to give your adrenals some extra love by increasing filtered water intake to at least 80 oz per day, increasing your salt intake (I prefer pink Himalayan salt), and adding adaptogens.

Adaptogens are herbs that strengthen and support the adrenal glands are often called “adaptogens.” They are especially helpful for managing adrenal stress because they can either give tired adrenals a healthy boost or calm overactive adrenals—thus being incredibly adaptable. Adaptogens are used to support the body’s varying physical and emotional stresses and can increase energy and the capacity to

handle stress. My favorite adaptogen for caregivers is ASHWAGANDHA. Ashwagandha is calming, useful for stress management, anxiety, sleep disturbances. In addition, it has thyroid support and

also contains anti-fungal properties

I hope that you will give yourself the opportunity to implement some of these recommendations. I cannot stress enough how important it is to take care of YOU since you child’s health depends on it! Remember to always be gentle with yourself. You are doing an AMAZING job.