Caring for Caregivers
Jill Armijo has been a physical therapist assistant for almost 30 years. About 5 years ago she found herself in a wheelchair, overweight, arthritic and unable to bear any weight on one of her feet at all. Her physical condition was a result of not taking care of herself emotionally. She had devoted all her time and energy to working, taking care of her children, and being the primary caregiver to her husband, who is unable to work due to physical and mental illness. She decided to find a job she could do sitting down because of her physical restrictions, so she went to health coach school and learned how to be a health coach. It was at this school that she learned to lose weight, got rid of her arthritis and got back out of the wheelchair. She now runs miles, does Yoga, and lifts weights for exercise, without any pain.
Through this journey she learned that she wanted to be a health coach and take care of people, which led to her opening her own business. Jill has been in business now for two years and the name of her business is Savor Your Life. The program she coaches through is Fuzzy Slipper Camp. She takes care of caregivers who are frustrated and lonely and teaches them how to get more “me” time. Her program helps caregivers to get their life back at a time when they may feel their life is over.
Thoughts Drive Emotion
She feels her business differs from others because most caregiver advocates focus on the actions that the caregivers should take and they are given a list of “to do’s” to make their lives better. Jill focuses more on the thinking and beliefs that drive their emotions. She says once we figure out the thinking that drives our emotion, it produces the actions we want to take, to make our lives better. Jill says, “Thoughts, good or bad, aren’t necessarily the truth. The thoughts we choose to keep are what help us.”
When asking Jill what one of her biggest challenges or hurdles in starting a new business was, she replied, “Tech, computers, the difference between a file and a folder, how to do a Zoom meeting, or a webinar, Facebook and social media.” She feels she has grown so much in this area, “…after studiously avoiding it all my life.” To help her with all this, she gets up every day and does something hard, something that scares her, or something she hasn’t done before.
Sharing Her Story
As if Jill wasn’t busy enough, she has recently written and published a book called Home of the Unknown Soldier: How Coming Back Became the Other Ultimate Sacrifice. Her motivation for writing this book came many years prior, from the encouragement of family and friends who thought she should put into words her struggles of being a caregiver to her husband. They felt she should tell the story of why she didn’t leave the marriage, and why she continued to provide care for him. Because of family commitments, she chose to write the book once her youngest son left on an LDS mission.
Look For Solutions
Jill decided to write the book as a memoir, but included tools to teach other caregivers who might be in her shoes, or might be in a situation where they have nowhere to turn, feel they are out of options, and are desperate. She says she wrote the book, “to encourage, help and support other caregivers of any type.” When asked what the biggest challenge in writing her book was, she replied, “Getting it published. Writing it was the easy part.” She needed to work on her business so she forced herself to only write on Sundays. During the week she would record herself talking about things she wanted to include in the book while exercising or doing chores, and then she would organize and write on Sunday. It took her a year to write and publish the book. Publishing was the hardest part because it was very technical and time-consuming. Her business did suffer during this time. Between May and November she did very little on her business to get the book finished.
Jill’s advice to anyone starting a business is, “It’s not going to go how you think, but you will be led in the ways that are the best in the end.” She also advises, “When you hit the roadblocks and challenges, look for solutions. Just keep going, and face everything that is hard and scary, because that will help you grow.” Look for what you can change and think outside the box.”
To find out more about Savor Your Life you can connect with Jill Armijo in the following ways:
Facebook: Savor Your Life
Facebook Group: TLC 4 Caregivers
Jill’s book can be purchased at: https://www.amazon.com/Home-Soldier-Coming-Ultimate-Sacrifice/dp/1640857982