How do those with the important and often demanding job of caregiving find joy and ease moving through their own life?
These days we as caregivers are so heavily focused on health care, safeguarding loved ones, economics and logistics that we can easily lose perspective on life —for the quality of those we care for and for ourselves. Experiencing joy while caregiving doesn’t always come naturally. How do we navigate back to a path filled with ease when we’re heading toward burnout?
Giving yourself a quick hand or foot massage can bring relief from tension and stress while adding joy and happiness. Invest in soothing lavender lotion to help your body slow down and a citrus scent to energize. If budget allows, you can hire a masseuse to come directly to the house for you or your parent.
Set aside some quiet time to contemplate what you’re truly thankful for. What are the things you value most? What would you like to experience more of in your life? Answers often come when we’ve quieted down life’s everyday noise. Gaining awareness of the positives (and negatives!) is an important step to understanding what’s working and not. While caregiving can certainly be challenging at times, having the opportunity to make your loved one’s life easier and more pleasurable is a wonderful thing. And spending quality time with someone who may be nearing the end of their own life is irreplaceable.
What we eat affects how we feel — both mentally and physically. Ever eaten a candy bar and felt awful afterward? If you eat junk food, you feel rundown and sluggish; however, consuming nutritious fruits and vegetables leaves you full of energy and pep. Cooking can also have a therapeutic effect — the scent of a favorite dish can conjure up happy memories, while the act of preparing it can be calming and relaxing as well.
Getting out of the house can work wonders, even when extra planning is involved. Activities don’t need to cost a lot of money or take up too much time (especially if you’re going with your aging loved one), but just the event itself can help brighten your day. Need something simple? Think drive-through coffee or a mindful stroll around a neighborhood park. Try a scenic drive or spend the afternoon at your local library pursuing magazines and newspapers.
When you find yourself in thrall of doctor appointments, grocery shopping, cleaning and more, it’s important to take time to slow down and remember this situation is temporary, and when it’s over, you’ll likely wish for just one more day of it.