Now that the New Year is here, what are we, as caregivers going to do differently this coming year? At the beginning of each year, we resolve to save more money, lose weight, minimize bad habits, de-clutter and organize among other various life improvements.  As a caregiver, however, the things that we might do to improve our situation may be much different than the items mentioned above.
When I teach "Powerful Tools for Caregivers", at the end of each weekly session, participants are asked to prepare a plan of action to be completed in one week and to talk about the outcome during the next session.
The criteria for the action plan asks that the plan be:
1. Something specific that will benefit you
2. Something that can be done a number of times
3. Something that can be achieved with a high degree of confidence
It is important that the goals are not too general or too large to realistically complete, such as "I'm going to get my life together".  Though it is a goal with merit, it is too broad and unattainable in the short term.
"I'm going to get my life together" is a BIG goal with many vague facets.  Perhaps taking a "baby step" toward this big goal is a better choice. Breaking a large goal, such as this, into more manageable segments with measurable outcome helps to achieve the goal with better success.  Setting smaller goals within the big one will provide a better road map to achievement.
Do things that will give you pleasure!  The example above may be something that you need to do, but is not necessarily enjoyable and we need some enjoyment.
The following are a compilation of activities that were presented in my Powerful Tools classes as ideas that participants put forward to add a measure of fun and satisfaction to their lives.
These are "short term" activities to be accomplished within a week, however, they can and do turn into long term activities if given the chance.
Read "x" number of chapters in a favorite book.
Take an "x" minute walk "x" days a week.
Take an hour each day undisturbed (even 5 minutes will do for a start)
Go to a movie
Call or visit a friend
Get together with a friend or relative for lunch
Reach out to friends and relatives to give you a break by looking after your loved one "x" hours
Take a nap
Go shopping for yourself
Just sit in a coffee shop with a book and a hot coffee
Get a pet, or just visit the SPCA
Join a support group
Reach out to another caregiver
Go to the library
Get some ice cream / candy / pizza / ......whatever
Join a gym

Sign up for Powerful Tools for Caregivers classes in your area (contact your county senior services department to see if and when these classes are offered.

All of these CAN be done, how often depends not necessarily on how much time you have, rather it depends on your COMMITMENT to do it.

Recommended Reading

This is an excellent article covering caregiver care.  

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