At this hectic time of year—when the focus is on giving to others—it might be even more important to give yourself a gift to keep stress at bay. One of the best ways to do this is to set boundaries that allow you to refresh and recharge so you can better engage with others. Research on optimal brain functioning has found several ways you can take care of yourself and, in doing so, take better care of others.
Let’s focus on five key areas where you can set clear boundaries.
Are you getting enough sleep? Can you think of a boundary you could add to your life that would help you get more sleep? I recently read about something many of us are guilty of doing: having a death grip on our phone or tablet until we go to bed. Studies have shown that light from an electronic screen stimulates our brain into thinking it’s daytime, not time for rest. This can interfere with both our sleep pattern and our quality of sleep. So set a boundary for electronic “lights out” time.
When is the last time you fully relaxed? The last time you let your guard down, stopped focusing on the things you were working on, and just took a break? Build one event a week into your schedule where you can relax. Use that time to do whatever relaxes you. Go for a walk on the beach. Go to the library. Get a frozen yogurt. Do something you enjoy.
Most of us know what optimal nutrition looks like—but do we operate on those principles on a day-to-day basis? Really? This holiday season, when “goodie” temptation is at its peak, commit to setting a clear boundary around nutrition. We know the more sugar and fat we eat, the more our body has to process, and the less it is able to stay energized so we can do our work and have good times with family and friends. What about adding more fruits and vegetables? Set a boundary that specifies you will eat five servings of fruits or vegetables every day.
The holidays are about love and being with the ones you love. Have circumstances kept you from being with certain special people during the holidays in years past? Make a point this year to set up a time during the holidays to get together with those loved ones. Whoever you love, make this year special for yourself and for them—show you care by setting up some clearly defined time together.
Are you one of those people who works 24/7? What if you set a boundary that you would stop working at 7:00 p.m. every night, or stop doing work on Sundays? Set aside some time for yourself—you may find it liberating. As a caregiver you may be thinking that you will be unable to take time off from caring for your loved one. That is where we come in! We offer a variety of services including respite care that can give you that much-needed break. When you’re a full-time caregiver for someone suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, a few hours set aside, just for you, sometimes makes all the difference in the world. Caregivers can trust our staff to provide appropriate care with dignity, compassion and expertise.
So this year, set boundaries to give yourself the gift of sleep, relaxation, nutrition, love and time during the holidays. Welcome the serenity of self-care—and know that it will ultimately help you take care of others. Have a wonderful and peaceful holiday season.
To contact the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center
For more information or to sign up for respite care, please call us at (877) 760-9199. We can help you get the help you need. Thank you for watching our Wednesday Workshop and we’ll see you again next week.