3 New Year’s Resolutions for Caregivers
Whether you are just in the beginning of the caregiving journey or have been doing it for some time, it can be especially difficult for caregivers to set New Year’s resolutions. In fact, you’re probably tempted to list being a better caregiver as your top priority! Instead, though, we’d encourage you to resolve to take better care of yourself.
Consider the following options — all framed around self-care — as you outline what you’d like 2018 to look like for you and your loved ones:
Resolution 1: Assemble a care team. Sometimes, it feels like you’re in this alone. But, really, it takes a village, as they say. Feeling supported is the key to coping with the all-consuming responsibility of caregiving. Join a caregiver support group. Partner with a care manager or social worker to gain access to additional resources and expertise. Even write down a list of caregiving activities and explore ways to share the responsibility (e.g., carpooling, weekly potlucks).
Resolution 2: Be kind to yourself. You’re likely your own harshest critic. We won’t tell you to lower your standards, but we will encourage you to treat yourself with a little more kindness. If you were talking to a friend, you’d encourage them to exercise regularly, schedule regular breaks, do something (anything!) each day they enjoy and practice self-compassion. Do the same for yourself.
Resolution 3: Get enough rest. Sleep has a huge impact on your overall health. Still, you may find it almost impossible to get the recommended seven-to-eight hours of shut-eye each night. If that sounds like you, start small. Even setting aside an extra 15 minutes to relax and breathe intentionally at the end of the night can invite more rejuvenating sleep.
Caring for yourself is the most important – and often the most forgotten – thing you can do as a caregiver. Take care of yourself so you can care for your loved one even better!