exhale first


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about us

Here at exhale first, we’re on a mission to support family caregivers
(hey, that’s us!) while *not* neglecting ourselves.

As a family caregiver, raise your hand if you’re exhausted. Stressed out. Sleep deprived and overwhelmed with a to-do list that’s a mile long. And ODing on chocolate and wine. And maybe even Ambien.(And according to scary stats, caregivers can potentially lose TEN years of our own lifespans due to harsh impacts of this dire situation.

This journey is arduous. Something no one ever prepares you for. Strenuous. Tough and tumultuous.

At exhale first, we fuel ourselves with information and community support. And most importantly, self-care. Consider us your escape, your in case of emergency break glass—some sparks of sunshine on an otherwise cloudy day.

Our oxygen masks must go on first! Having been there, done the opposite, clocking two hours of sleep a night during crisis mode (not even consecutive two hours!), the days that followed didn’t exactly lead to the best decision making abilities, not to mention quality of life.

When everything hits the fan, we—the often invisible, under appreciated, stressed to the max family caregiver—absolutely must learn to make ourselves a priority and exhale first.

Vicki Salemi

founder and ceo
chief exhale officer

Hanging out in the West Village with a friend on a crisp September evening in 2015, I got a voicemail no one wants to get at 10:30 pm. Instantly, my gut knew something was wrong.

I wish I wasn’t right.

Suddenly, your mother’s in the emergency room an hour away and you drop everything the following day to hop on a bus to the ‘burbs…

…thereby punctuating an abrupt start of an intense family caregiving journey no one prepares you for; no one wants to talk about until unfortunately, yeah, too late. You’re suddenly in it.

In an instant, your life gets tossed upside down and there’s not a solid foundation or preparation for what’s happening next.
Introducing the new norm—stress, worry, isolation, agita and a cup that runneth over (add guilt for feeling resentful about missing your glam New York City life! Meanwhile, having zero information about important stuff I had to quickly research and act upon amidst zero social support in NJ).

I’m a nationally recognized career expert and spokesperson, love sharing my expertise that’s quoted regularly in top tier news outlets (from CNN to CNBC, The Wall Street Journal, Moneyish and more!), author, speaker, writer, consultant—turned power of attorney, health proxy, property manager overnight. I recently became a nationally certified caregiver through the American Caregiver Association, passionate about boosting our quality of life (same with careers actually: if you’re underemployed, work for a toxic boss, underpaid…this negatively impacts your life, too! Life’s too short to hate your job, find a better one asap! But, eyes back over here…)

That’s why I created exhale first—there were too many time-strapped, major decisions made alone in the dark after sleepless nights as weight crept on (hello, guac for breakfast, M&Ms for lunch, gym? Who has energy when you’ll seriously snooze on the bike?).

I’m creating what I severely needed and wished was available when I was immersed in really dark times, sadly witnessing my awesome, vibrant life disappear into a shadow of its former self, figuring out how to reclaim myself. Fast.

There’s gotta be a better way. A road map and fab community as your copilot when turbulence strikes because sadly it will, it’s just a matter of when.

We totally get it when you’re an adult daughter or son and instantly become the parent, overwhelmed. Stressed. Upset. Unprepared. And let’s say it together now – exhausted.

Wherever you are in your caregiving chapter, we’ve got your back! Let’s exhale first, together.

More about me here!