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A New Year of Caregiving

With the start of the New Year it might be a good idea to take a moment to reflect on the obstacles you faced last year and how to prepare for the unexpected circumstances that will probably occur in the coming year. The first thing you can do is congratulate yourself for having made it through another year. Caregiving creates an incredible level of stress unmatched by most other endeavors. The time and emotional drain can often be so oppressive that you might think you can’t make it another day. But you always do. In fact, you made it another year and that says a lot about your strength, conviction and commitment. So take a moment to refect on all the good that you do and the good that exists in your life as well.

Perhaps on New Year’s Day, set aside an hour or two to write down the most troublesome aspects of caregiving and how you have been addressing them. Then make a list of all the minor irritations that kept cropping up that seemed to drive you crazy. Keep things in perspective. See the small irritations as insignificant and not worthy of a reaction. They’re going to exist, like ants at a picnic, which you just brush away. Save your anger, anxiety and frustration for the larger issues that you had to address and see if there’s a better way to handle them in the coming year.

Look at what you endured and how you handled each situation. What were the biggest problems and are there better ways to solve them? Time seems to be a major issue for many caregivers. There is just too much to do and not enough time. One method that often helps is to compartmentalize tasks, breaking them down to a manageable size. Allocate a specific amount of time for tasks. For example, if you have to clean the house, assign no more than an hour a day to each room. Cleaning in sections is much less daunting than cleaning in volume.

As you begin the New Year make a resolution to take care of yourself. You are just as important as the person you are caring for, and you deserve just as much attention.

Happy New Year!

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