New Year’s Resolutions for Family Caregivers
Here are 4 suggestions for great new years resolutions that focus on self-care, lowering stress and feeling good about you:
1. Appreciate the small things in life
When you notice yourself becoming critical, take 2 minutes to write down or close your eyes and reflect on 5 things that you’ve done for yourself, witnessed, or received recently that you can feel good about. This could be taking 30 seconds to gaze out the window at the trees when you woke up, or that you made a special effort to be patient with your loved one at a tense moment. Try not to judge or diminish the thoughts that come up, simply acknowledge and savor these mini moments in time. What are you grateful for?
2. Take time to really love the person you care for
Life is sacred and daily caregiving can feel hard, exhausting, and annoying. Practice not letting the hard parts about caring get in the way of really loving being with that person. Acknowledge how special it is that you can spend close time with this person at such a vulnerable part of their life.
3. Set healthy boundaries
Practice paying attention to when you’re heading over the ledge of over-committing yourself. Letting your care team and loved one know you need a break is such an important way of honoring yourself and avoiding caregiver burnout. Calling time and stepping out, even if it’s only for a five minute walk outside around the house helps to establish a healthy relationship with your care team and the person you care for. Let people know you’re not available for an hour in the afternoon. Use that time to nap, read, explore or get out of the house. Creating time for yourself strengthens your identity and better prepares you to handle the stresses of caregiving.
4. Reflect on what makes you happy
Setting healthy boundaries creates the space for this new years resolution idea. Caregiving for a loved one often pulls us away from the activities and practices that we used to identify with. Take time to reflect on practices that bring you joy. Maybe it’s watercoloring, DIY projects, writing, gardening, or collecting. While your time probably is limited, think about setting aside a little time to nourish that part of yourself once or twice a month
To read the rest of the article click here (It’s an article from 2015 – the year may change but what matters rings true every year.)