The new year brings a fresh start. For many people, that means making New Year’s resolutions. As a caregiver, it is important to resolve to care for yourself too. Now is the perfect time to resolve to take better care of yourself while you journey with your loved one!
By Melissa Chan
As we go about our day to day, caring for our loved one, it is easy to let our own health and wellbeing slide past without us noticing how we may be affected. It is natural, as family caregivers, to put ourselves last, but this isn’t the best habit to keep.
The consequences of caregiver stress are more serious than we think! Statistics show much higher rates of early death and chronic illness. If you aren’t already doing so, it’s time to care more for yourself so that you can better care for your loved one.
Me time. Take some time for yourself every day.
Set some time each day and mark it as your time to rest, reflect and recharge. This could be first thing in the morning or before you go to bed. You could spend this time journaling, reading a book, gardening, reflecting or meditating. The point is to disconnect from all other touch-points as much as you can. Scheduling time for yourself will help you be more present in your journey of caring.
You’re not superhuman. Round up the village and be ok to receive help.
Assemble your team and ask friends to keep you accountable to your goals and to help support you in your journey of caring. As caregivers, we often make it look like we have it all together, but most of the time, we don’t. We aren’t superhuman and we all need help. Be ok to ask and receive help.
If you can’t find help within your inner circle, search and look out for networks that might be able to support you. There are many individuals going through similar circumstances as you are. You aren’t alone. Strangers can turn into real supporters! But please practice safety on digital platforms while you’re at it.
Talk it out. Reconnect with friends and family.
The toll of caring may have taken time away from you and you may have lost touch with your tribe over the course of caring for your loved one. It is the start of a new year and a perfect time to check in with old friends and family to wish them a wonderful year ahead. Use this as an opportunity to reconnect with them too.
Talk it out and share how your journey has been, both the good and the bad. But make sure to keep a balance so as not overwhelm your rekindled conversation.
Start with baby steps
You don’t have to build in all resolutions in a single day. Even the tiniest steps make a difference! Start with baby steps and move from there. Whether you are looking to make a New Year’s resolution or to identify one area where a small change in your life would make a significant difference, we hope the above kickstarts your move in the right direction.
Have you set your resolutions for the year ahead? How do they support you in your journey of caring? Inspire the community by sharing some of your resolutions!