Have you ever felt paralyzed at the very thought of making one more decision? Somehow the one that rattles you to your very core is the big decision of whether it’s corn or a salad to go with your dinner tonight.
I want to introduce you to overwhelm. As a caregiver, when one more thing pops up on your radar, the decisions directly affecting your loved one are the one’s you want to be sure to get right. But chances are, now and again, you’re going to make the wrong decision even there.
I am taking you down a stream of thought here, for a reason. At the base core, if your inner self gets lost in the process of being a caregiver, and you beat yourself up over making the wrong decision over and over, something is going to give. Your inner walls will start shaking.
Creating balance in your life as a caregiver is essential for you to sustain your role. And to do that, it is critical to know a few things to get a solid foundation in place so that when life starts shaking, it won’t be the dinner accompaniment that rattles you.
Creating an awareness of what makes you happy gives yourself a root structure, which helps create a solid foundation. Here is an exercise that will help. Find a bit of downtime, grab a journal or your laptop if you prefer, take a step back, and begin to jot down what will allow you to be happy, at the core.
Let yourself do a bit of free thinking through this:
Who YOU are (Wife, father, friend, son…)
What brings you JOY (Golfing, watching sunsets, reading a book, working out…)
How you want to SHOW UP for your loved one while continuing to serve YOURSELF (I want to be sure that Mom is safe and put practices into place that she is comfortable with so she doesn’t feel as though she has lost control of her own life. For myself, I want to start practicing art again because it makes me happy)
Create a PLAN of what to do next; outline ideas of what you think might work for Mom and then discuss them with her. How you approach that discussion is as critical as the essence, so phrasing it something like, “Mom, your well being is of utmost importance to me. I want to discuss a few ideas that I’ve had. Would you be open to talking about them”?
Find JOY that will sustain YOU; “Pull out my old sketch pad and pencils…”
Finally, write down an outline for what you will do next—one step at a time.
Will this lift all of your fears? No. Will it gave you a roadmap so that you don’t need to figure everything out simultaneously, especially during crunch time? Yes. Will it give you a bit of joy so that you’ll be more present to care for your loved one by filling up your cup? Yes.
No one solution will ‘fix’ everything. Creating a base and an outline of what will help you sustain your role as a caregiver will surely help.
Start to shift your focus and start to change your life. We think you’re amazing and know that the path to better care is to start, with YOU.