Ah, it’s Friday! My favorite day of the week, other than the weekend – when I can oversleep without making my teenage daughter late for school, or weekdays – when my time is my own during the long school hours! Friday is the beginning of the weekend mentality, for me; although, having attended the University of Maryland, my weekends really begin Thursday night! I look forward to “playing hooky,” as my dear aunt used to say. Reason, optional!
Just like work is necessary in order to get things done, so are distractions. They have shown to help people maintain their focus on the current task, improve performance and increase motivation. Getting on the mental or emotional treadmill where the goal is distant and not achievable in the near future can wear down your energy, efficiency and enthusiasm. As the article What gets you through the workday? states, a little break from work helped people increase focus and creativity, and reduced stress. Why not apply this principle to caregiving?
Many jobs, including caregiving, have built-in stressors that could overwhelm us over time. It is important to keep ourselves healthy, mentally and physically, in order to do a job where people depend on us so much. Physical activity, laughter, talking or writing to people, distractions and a good night’s sleep are some of the things that we can do to keep ourselves fit and prepared to carry out our duties. Let us not become a victim of our own caregiving! This is a time to develop sensible and healthy habits so that we may continue to (happily) provide the care on which our loved one relies.
So, it’s time to think about your interests! What do you love? What did you love to do before you became a caregiver? What would you like to learn?
Take time to think of enjoyable pastimes so that you can start doing them again. Or get together with your friend, relative or spouse and do something new, fun or meaningful. See something beside your 4 walls. Do anything, but start with a good night’s sleep at least once a week! This alone can improve your outlook, stamina and tolerance. I am living proof of it! I have caught myself feeling happy, strong and so assertive that nothing is an obstacle that I cannot overcome – always after a good night’s sleep!
Click on the links below to read about handling stress, coping, and positive thinking. You can do this!