Here we are – starting another new year. It seems like we just said goodbye to the last one. Time passes so swiftly that we can barely keep up.
With the start of every new year many of us make all kinds of resolutions – some of which are already broken before we are a few weeks into the year. We caregivers might want to give some thought to making a few resolutions too – but plan on keeping every one of them. Here are some suggestions to consider:
Make a resolution to get out more. Go for a walk – even if it is only a brief few minutes walking down the street and back. Nothing clears the head more than breathing the fresh air and taking a walk. And it is a good way to get a few minutes for YOU.
Getting out can also include taking your loved one out more frequently. Granted, it can be effort to actually get him/her in and out of the house or car but the end result is rewarding. Go somewhere that is easy for your loved one to access and a place that gives both of you pleasure. It can be a restaurant, a park, a movie – the possibilities abound.
If you have a hobby, try to make some time to pursue it this year. As caregivers we often neglect our own little pleasures because there are so many important caregiving tasks on our plate each day. But a hobby can help keep your mind off other things and can give you much needed relaxation.
Let’s keep maintaining healthy attitudes – keeping spirits up. Being a caregiver can be hard on us but keeping a positive attitude helps everyone cope. That’s not to say we should be phony about how we feel. But if we can keep as upbeat as is practical, life is easier all around.
Try not to be too hard on yourself if you get irritable, cranky or downright angry. It’s best not to take those feelings out on your loved one, of course, but you may be able to confide in a close friend or family member. Being a caregiver is a very difficult job and it can seem very unrewarding for all the work expended. If things get too tough, try to get a little help if possible – from a friend, family member or even a home health aide. And don’t keep it all bottled up inside – someone you love is willing to listen if you talk. You’d be surprised how understanding people can be even if they don’t completely know what you go through on a daily basis.
Most of all, don’t forget to resolve to take good care of YOU. You can’t be as effective as you need to be if you are depressed, unhealthy or just plain tired.
Sallie can be reached at email@example.com