2020 is here. It’s the start of a new year and a new decade.
This is the time of year when many people take stock of their lives. What could be better? What could be different?
The start of a new year is like looking at a chalkboard that has been wiped clean. It’s a blank slate ready to be written on. Life can be whatever we make it.
If you’re caring for elderly loved ones, what will you write on the blank slate that is 2020? Here are some ideas.
Many caregivers put themselves last. Are you one of them? Why not make 2020 the year that you make time for yourself? It’s not selfish to take an hour out of each day to read, walk, work on a favorite hobby, treat yourself to a massage, or do something you find meaningful. If you feel too constrained by caregiving obligations, look for resources that will free up time, such as an errand service or personal assistant. One of the best forms of self-care is spending time with like-minded people. Caregiver support groups are great for this.
What are your thoughts about your situation? Do you look on the bright side? Or do your thoughts trend negative? Your experience of what happens to you is shaped to a large degree by the story you tell yourself about what happens to you. Is your story a positive one? Look for ways to laugh or find humor in the day, even in the midst of disappointment.
Change Bad Habits
Do you have certain favorite behaviors that help you cope with the uncertain of life? Smoking, drinking, overeating, overspending, and lack of exercise are just a few of the many habits people pick up along the way, all in the name of buffering themselves from life’s unpleasantness. Will this be the year that you drop these habits in favor of a healthier lifestyle? One popular method to build habits is called the 21/90 rule. The rule is simple. Commit to a goal for 21 straight days. After three weeks, the pursuit of that goal should have become a habit. Once you’ve established that habit, continue to do it for another ninety days.
Tend to Your Spirit
When is the last time you took time to connect to your spiritual side? There are lots of things you can do. Set aside a few minutes each day for prayer, meditation, devotions, or journaling. If you belong to a church or faith community, attend services and fellowship events. Consider developing a gratitude practice. Make a list of ten things you’re grateful for at the end of each day and then reflect on them. It’s a subtle yet powerful way to shift your attitude.
Consider talking about the ups and downs of your elder care journey with trustworthy people. Is there a relative you could confide in. A friendly person from a support group? A burden carried alone is doubled. A burden shared is halved. You may be surprised at the people who are willing to offer a compassionate listening ear.
The new year will be whatever you make it. What steps will you take to make this your best year yet? Remember, if you need support or guidance along the elder care journey, Takacs McGinnis Elder Care Law is here to help.