December is the height of the holiday season, with family members traveling near and far to connect with their older loved ones. While it is lovely to get to spend some quality time with your entire family, you might also notice that your extended visit gives you more insight into how your loved one is really doing at home alone.
You might realize that perhaps they aren’t thriving like they were last year and you aren’t sure how to proceed. You might realize that your siblings are too far away to give you any meaningful support in your caregiving tasks. You might also realize you are showing signs of caregiver burnout.
The holidays can be stressful, but there is hope: the new year is on the horizon and it can be the perfect time to make some conscious decisions to alter your behavior and to get the assistance that you need to stay healthy in 2022 and beyond. Looking for some inspiration? Here are a few of our favorite new year resolutions for the family caregiver.
Schedule Time for Rest
We find that all too often, family members end up at the end of their rope before finally making rest a priority. It’s easy to do as caregivers, putting your loved one’s needs ahead of your own. But if you don’t schedule rest in your calendar – in ink – you will always find a reason not to do it. Make this the year that you schedule regular rest in your calendar at least weekly.
Rest looks different for everyone, of course, but all rest is important. You can schedule in time for a yoga class, a nature walk, a dinner out with friends, or a weekend getaway. As long as you are scheduling it as a can’t-miss appointment, you are doing it right.
Make Your Health a Priority
You are busy taking your loved one to and from doctor appointments and ensuring they are eating well and taking their medications. Are you paying the same attention to your own health? Make 2022 the year you take charge of your own emotional and physical wellness by scheduling dentist and physician appointments.
Therapy or counseling is a wonderful tool that can help you sift through emotions and strategies as you continue to be a family caregiver. Look for a therapist near you with experience working with family caregivers and be sure to check your insurance to see if those visits are covered under your benefits.
If therapy doesn’t sound like it is doable right now, consider joining a caregiver support group instead. You’ll find that being surrounded by other caregivers can be therapeutic in its own right.
Pick Up a New Hobby
Family caregivers are selfless, but sometimes you need to find something to pursue only for you. Choose a new hobby to work on all through the new year, whether it is training for a 5k run, picking up pottery as a creative outlet, or reading 20 books in the year. Tell someone you love about your new pursuit so you feel like you have the accountability to stick with it and grow.
Say No More Often
When is the last time you politely declined an invitation or told someone you couldn’t manage what they were asking. If you aren’t great at saying no, then make 2022 the year you learn to say it. Remember, saying no isn’t rude; it just means that you are prioritizing things that you happily say yes to.
Get Caregiving Support
Finally, you don’t have to be a caregiver on your own. The right support through a home care agency like CaringGivers can give you back a relationship with your loved one and help you find the time to prioritize your own health and rest. Call us today to learn about our specialized services so that we can develop a plan that supports you and your loved one.