Here’s the thing about resolutions: they are not often focused on others. Yes, some resolve to be kinder, or to reconcile with an estranged friend or family member, or to give more time and money to a worthy cause. Still, the majority of new year commitments are “me-focused,” i.e. I want to lose weight, I want to exercise more, I want to spend less money.
In the case of caregivers, the “me-focused” resolutions are just fine.
The special people who are caring for someone at home, in a residential care community like assisted living, or by checking in with seniors in their neighborhood who live alone: these are people who can resolve to focus on self-care in the new year.
The majority of caregivers give, give and give some more, and often at the expense of their own health (which in turn can impact the people they are caring for). Burnout does not do a body good — physically, emotionally, relationally, mentally and spiritually.
Consider these tips for a new caregiving you in 2013:
- Take short breaks every day (a quick walk, a phone call to a friend, a soak in the tub in the evening), a “mental health” day at least once a month, and make arrangements for a longer break at least once a year.
- Enjoy the simple pleasures and cherish the small victories in caregiving.
- Keep a journal as a sacred place to express your fears, frustrations, and future hopes in caregiving (don’t forget to mark those happy moments too).