You’re halfway into your day, feeling depleted and thinking back to the few minutes just before you woke up. There was a gentle peace, quiet perhaps just seconds before your mind went into the details of the day ahead.
Caregivers have days that are full without rest, whether physically or mentally. So how do you find the time, for you? How do you re-energize yourself so that you can keep up?
Start by organizing your environment. I know that may send chills up some of your spines, but the art of decluttering can free up not only literal space but also mental space.
Raise your hands if this sounds familiar; You’re in the middle of composing an email and remember that you put your car registration, somewhere. You get up to look for it and see the pile of clothes that need to be washed, so you quickly get that going. Your loved one calls for you, so you attend to their needs, and then you remember you were in the middle of doing something, but the pile of papers catches your attention.
Hours later you remember it was the car registration you were looking for and finally finish the email to your attorney with the information they requested. Probably time for a nap because you’ve thoroughly exhausted yourself, but then you see the containers out on the kitchen counter and……
Don’t think of this as one big task; take it room by room. Start with the kitchen and pull out those cupboards that have things piled in them to the point that you can never find that plastic container you’ve been looking for.
Next, go to the bathroom and sort through all of those jars and bottles of things you tried but didn’t really like but maybe one day…..time to let them go. I went to the dollar store recently and picked up several containers that I sorted my make-up and lotions in to. Makes finding things SO much easier!
Sort your way through your bedroom, closets, and drawers. And don’t forget the office space and file cabinets where papers can get piled up for ‘another day.’
I remember staying with my Sister, and watching her get up every morning and put away the dishes from the night before. Brilliant! It creates focus (mindfulness is a GOOD thing!) and clears the path for the day ahead.
There are no cookie cutter answers to creating space in your life as a family caregiver. I wish there were. But there are things that you can do to help offset some of the inevitable moments that will happen, and emotions that swirl up with them.
Create a little space; you’ll be happy you did.
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I remember my mom would get completely ready for next day the night before, even picking out clothes.