Do you find yourself standing on a fine line of determining what is right and wrong when making decisions for your loved one? Whether those are big or little decisions, they can ultimately leave you feeling drained at the end of your day. I refer to it as emotional clutter, because you can’t always see a clear path and with so much, you can’t find a clear space in your mind.
The way through emotional clutter is similar to organizing your home. Make an inventory, figure out what you can let go of and get help when you need it. It doesn’t have to be all at once, but adding things on a to-do list, prioritizing and checking things off one by one, can take the edge off.
Preparing becomes your lifesaver, an essential tool. Yes, that takes time, and often it may feel easier to just plunge through the day-to-day. But at some point, that clutter will consume you. Something as simple as meal planning for the week can make a big difference, and you will reap the rewards in many ways.
Think of it this way. Make a plan, add it to a list, and/or your calendar, then check it off when completed. Here’s the choice; lay in bed awake at night, or explode out of frustration because you forgot something or organize it. Here are a few ideas:
Pick a day/time during the week that is best for meal planning and another for grocery shopping or delivery
Create a standard shopping list that you can print with food items used regularly (juice, eggs, garlic…) to inventory those quickly
Create a specific list of items your loved one needs outside of medications (lotions, bandages, eye drops, underwear, shaving cream, etc.) and check them off as the inventory gets low. HINT: add your things to this list, your mind is on overwhelm as it is
Create an ongoing to-do checklist. The basics; laundry, cleaning, weeding. Then when faced with unexpected challenges/additions to your to-do’s, prioritize them; Urgent – Not Urgent. Focus on the higher levels first and then add a section of ‘One day’s….’ such as going through closets, donating clothes, cleaning out the garage
These are things that you can direct/control and minimize crazy-making nights of lost sleep. Will it take all of the anxiety out of your caregiving? No, but it will add to the peace and balance.
You are on a continuous roll of to-dos. Part of that is knowing that you’ve done so much and acknowledging that is key. Yes, you’ve made mistakes, we all do. So it is paramount to applaud your efforts for things you have been able to do, and yes, you can add that to your to-do list, too. Best foot forward, you’ll stumble (I guarantee that), but you move forward with your head up.
“You’ve done your best, forget the rest.” ~ Trudy Tribbett