There are over 44 million of us across the nation who care for the family members and friends who are chronically ill, elderly, or who have a disability. With caregiving comes with challenges but there are also great joys with being able to serve and support a loved one. I especially want to express my gratitude for the work that you do each day to ensure your loved one is able to live in their home and community.
How can you make sure you are at your best during caregiving? One way is to make sure that you are meeting your needs and utilizing tools and resources to help yourself. Let me introduce you to the concept of Be Well Be Swell.
What is Be Well Be Swell? It’s a lifestyle. It’s a concept – something that we all must adapt to is to begin to lead a life of service with joy even in the midst of challenge Why we must adapt to this? it just makes it so much easier to move through life if you are moving on a trajectory filled with joy. When you are moving with joy, it can make things a little bit easier. I find myself sometimes just mulling over things in the past that I have not done. To tell you the truth for the past few months I had been feeling like I’ve been in a cloud or a fog if you will. You know what we get the chance to start fresh brand new every single day.
What I am challenging myself to do now is to #DOITNOW. And also, not only do it now, but take it in small bites. I have a tendency to try to jump in there and try to complete everything. If you’re trying to care for somebody else and you have a family and you have all this stuff going on in your life including work – it is hard to complete all of these tasks. Now I’m finding it a bit more easier to break stuff down and do it in smaller bits. Set a goal and say I’m going to look to doing this a little bit each day, or once a week, or once a month, and then it doesn’t become as overwhelming. This allows my attitude to be better because I’m not as stressed and pressed and frustrated because I haven’t gotten that thing done. I’m going to encourage you to think in terms of “doing it now”.
What is it that you have put off? Is it getting those documents that you need – that power of attorney document- sitting down with your accountant or maybe having that one doctor’s appointment. All of these things are important. One day you are going to wake up and say OMG, I got to get all of this stuff done!! And Now it’s almost the end of the year and I have to finish all of these things. What’s going to happen is that you’re going to feel overwhelmed. Overexcited and then you’re going feel like OMG I can’t do this. Then what happens is that you come to a full stop. You know that I am sooo right. Do you know how I know that I’m right.. it’s because I do it myself. I found that I have been beating myself up for not getting things done. However, there’s a lot of things on my plate. I’m sure that there is a lot on yours too. I keep saying that as a caregiver I wear so many hats – I’m a lawyer, a doctor, a nurse, a chef and all of these things are titles that I have adapted and have done so to accommodate and be in service to other people around me and you just have to stop! You have to say hey.. I”m done for today. I need to go to sleep. I need to get some rest. If you don’t you’re going to find yourself in an exhausted state. If you don’t you’re not going to be able to help anyone. You’ll end up being so empty and tired and won’t have the energy to do anything for anybody else.
I just want to remind you that it’s ok to say no. It’s ok to take a break. It’s ok to put some things off but don’t do it for too long otherwise you’re going to find yourself feeling stressed and pressed to try and catch up on the things that maybe could have been done a little bit sooner. Here’s what I want you to do – erase these words from your vocabulary – should of, could of, & would of. I know this can be hard but to be honest with you, I’m really talking to myself. As of late, I really had to sit back and tell myself this same thing. Sometimes it’s a daily thing that I have to remind myself to take my time, pace it, and get one focus. Take a break and don’t just work through the entire time – stop and take your time to just do a few things. Pick out the most important thing for the day – maybe one or two things or at the max three but that could be pushing it. Say hey I’m going to work on these things today for myself (which may of course be on top of your regular responsibilities. This is why it becomes important to focus on a few things for yourself -carve out some time and break it up into small bites. Maybe tomorrow pick a different category and move from there. Otherwise, you’ll be facing burn out and then comes resentment because you have things that you have to do for others. This often happens because you didn’t take the time out to do things that are important to you. I just want to remind you that these are things that if you do them and especially over time, you’ll reap the benefits and you’ll see that things get done slowly if you take small bites. For the rest of this month I want to encourage you to think of ways that you can be your best at caregiving. What’s one thing that you can do today? I’ll give you one to start – check out the prep guide and get started today!