Time is flying, we entered a new year. Do you dare thinking about New Year’s resolutions or is your mind spinning with all the ‘must-do’s”, ‘can’t haves” and “there’s never time for _______ (fill in the blank) anyways”?
Of course you love your mom and dad, of course you take care of them… but what about you? Who cares for you?
I get it, when you care for your loved one your life may be turned upside down. You deal with things and situations you never believe would happen or become a part of your life… but they do. Nowadays they call it your “new normal”.
Your ‘new normal’ requires that you take good care of yourself in the first place so… have you set your New Year’s goals? If yes, great! And I hope the goals I suggest here are high on your list. If not, why not making them a priority for your own sanity and wellbeing?
Your goal #1: Be Happy.
How? By setting time aside every week to care for yourself.
And I don’t mean a movie-night, or a dinner with your friends. The reality is that most caregivers can’t really relax (aka shut off their phone) when they are away from their loved one and their outing doesn’t have a lasting impact as it’s tough to be fully present. So what do you do?
You take care of yourself by setting aside at least 2 hours a week and during your time alone you silence your phone and choose what makes you happy: a walk with picnic in the forest, bake your favorite cake, go shopping for a new pair of heels, read a book, go golfing, volunteer at your favorite charity, take a workshop, grab a towel and head for the ocean. Whatever makes you happy, go for it! YOU DECIDE!
Your goal#2: Choose Your Friends Wisely.
Years ago I attended a workshop and the teacher told us to look at our phone contacts and delete every person that has a negative attitude and impact on your life. That definitely caused some uproar but despite it being a challenge (who wants to delete their negative uncle as he is family?!) it turned out that it was empowering and pretty easy to do.
If you want to delete negative people from your life, start with your phone. You don’t owe anyone an explanation, you won’t regret, and it’s one less stressor. So go for it! YOU DECIDE!
Your goal #3: Get support but don’t ask the whole world for help.
Love Facebook? Caregiver Support Groups are very popular, but are not always your best resource. The personal stories are often heart-breaking and since venting seems to be encouraged in different groups this often leads to more “raw” shares, rants and hurtful experiences in the endless stream of comments. And while you read it, your brain absorbs other people’s problems and sometimes it is hard to find one that offers the support that really helps you feel better, have less stress and (very important!) gives you better tools for caregiving.
And no one warned you for “possible disturbing images” in the group, right?
Just think for a moment: when you are 86 yrs old, you have Alzheimer’s and are not in control of your own life anylonger (try to picture it…) would you want to be exposed in public groups on Facebook? You can guess my personal answer: “NO WAY!!”
What can you do instead?
Reach out and ask for support from professionals who know and understand your challenges. They are trained to help you find resources, stay focused and learn how you can manage your caregiving journey while dealing with your so called ‘new normal’. Without compromising your own health, values and relationships. Think of your family doctor, social worker, Alzheimer’s live support group, service provider, church groups, caregiver coach, local family counselling services, geriatric care manager etc. When you care for a parent or elderly loved one, it is important that you acknowledge yourself as a caregiver so you can take the right steps to prevent overwhelm, guilt and burnout. No one else can do it for you. It is your life, go for it! YOU DECIDE!
Since I assume you love Facebook though, here are 2 of my favourite uplifting , fun and caring resources you can check out: “Working Daughter” and “Happy Healthy Caregiver”.
To wrap it up… I am curious: are you ready to commit to these 3 goals in 2018?
Yes? Awesome, go for it!
If not, why?
Let me help you! Here’s a previous blog that you may like and the tips are really easy to implement in your life. Visit the blog.
Maybe you’re not sure if your parents are in need of more help? visit this blog by Silver Sherpa. It will help you recognize the warning signs.
Do you want to learn how these goals can actually help you?
Ready to dive deeper into your caregiver journey, discover strategies and tools to be your best self AND be the amazing caregiver who feels confident, valued, informed, happy and loved?
Let’s have a conversation. Leave me a short note and I will personally schedule a 20 min complimentary chat with you. Wanna go for it? YOU DECIDE!
Happy 2018! With love,
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Saskia Jennings offers a unique, different and effective combination of Wholistic Health & Wellness Coaching, 10 yrs of gained experience in the Caregiver Service Industry, and proven caregiving strategies & tools to help busy professionals who care for aging parents. We are connected with trusted professional partners who can assist with planning and solutions to help your elderly loved ones and your family. Set up time with Saskia to determine your needs.
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