New Year’s Resolutions for Caregivers. It can especially difficult for people caring for a loved one to even entertain the thought of making some resolutions, let alone keep them. If there is a # 1 New Year’s resolution for caregivers, it might be, “To be a better caregiver.” Caregiving is an all-consuming, overwhelming responsibility and if you really want to do a better job than you’re probably already doing, we suggest that, instead, you make a resolution to take better care of yourself.
If you think you don’t have the time or the energy to take care of you, too, we’ve compiled a list of helpful tips — little things that can make a big difference.
New Year’s Resolutions for Caregivers: Self-care plan
Create an actionable self-care plan. Take a few minutes to think about what you can do and put it down on paper. Set specific, measurable goals. This may include things like actually scheduling and prioritizing time for something you enjoy right at home, like reading, drawing, or listening to music or investing in your health by having an occasional massage, a pedicure or a lunch with friends. At its most simple, self-care means preventive health care (dental cleanings, annual screenings), taking regular walks, and eating a balanced diet with lots of greens and grains.
Here are several things you could do to get you started on the road to taking care of yourself. They’re all about creating a mood.
New Year’s Resolutions for Caregivers: Soothing environment
Ever notice how something simple can change your mood in a heartbeat? Try these simple mood-changing suggestions:
- Change the lighting so that it’s softer and more soothing.
- Fill some vases with flowers.
- Play your favorite music.
- Move a comfortable chair into the sunlight.
- Take five minutes alone to calm down and deep breathe.
- Schedule appointments throughout the day as reminders to take care of yourself.
- If someone offers to help you — with housekeeping, for instance — say yes and let go of thinking it needs to be done “your way”.
- If you’re caring for someone with dementia, meet the person where he or she is at that moment. You’ll both probably feel a lot less stressedif your expectations are in line with his/her capabilities.
How are you feeling?
If you are going to resolve to take better care of yourself, first, you need to honor yourself and how you’re feeling — really feeling — about your role. Caregiving often leads to feelings of ambivalence — strong, conflicting feelings that leave people uncomfortable. Perhaps caregivers can focus on being more accepting of how they feel and finding appropriate ways to honor and express these feelings. This may include journaling, online caregiver message boards, support groups, counseling or some kind of creative expression.
We invite all caregivers to make 2019 the year they take good care of their physical, emotional and spiritual selves.