Congratulations overwhelmed caregivers! You made it through yet another winter!
Days of navigating your loved ones through sleet and snow in order to get them to their doctors’ appointments are slowly fading into memory. Soon flowers will be in bloom; overcoats, boots, and scarves will be tucked into the back of the closet while windbreakers and sweaters are brought up front.
For many of us here in the United States, we’ve already unofficially welcomed Spring. That was done on March 11th, when we turned our clocks forward and on March 20th, we officially welcome it.
It’s cliché to say that Spring is synonymous with renewal and rebirth but the truth of the matter is, it is. I mean, all we have to do is look out our window to see it. Depending on where you are, the crocuses may be out, blades of grass beginning to peak through the ground.
Why even the holidays we celebrate in Springtime are all about renewal. I mean, just look at the symbolism.
If one were to look up the meaning of the word “renewal” one will find many definitions. One that comes from Merriam-Webster I just love. It says that renewal is “to become new or as new.”
Isn’t that beautiful? After a long, dark, cold winter we can become new again.
But the question is, how as overwhelmed caregivers, busy all day long with our kids, our spouses, our house, and our care recipients, are we able to do that?
Ways We Can Make This The Best Spring Ever
1. Conduct a thorough Spring Cleaning and no, when say that I don’t mean tearing the house apart and cleaning it to an inch of its life. What I mean is:
:: Go through diets, pantries, and refrigerators. Assess what foods are no longer serving us in terms of our health and nutrition and replace them with better food that’ll better support our goals.
:: Review exercise regimes. For those already exercising (woot-woot!), keep it up. For those who don’t, I want to be the voice of encouragement. One evening, instead of collapsing in front of the TV, try going for a little walk (providing you can leave your care recipient on his/her own). If your care recipient can’t be left alone, try walking around the house, going up and down the stairs a few times, putting on a CD or something on one of those streaming channels and dance around the living room. Provided there are no medical contra-indications to exercise, exercise provides energy and a rise in endorphins, which lowers stress.
2. De-clutter your life. Assess which friends and which habits support the goals of health and relaxation. Keep what works and discard the rest. So, if you have a friend, for example, who loves to dictate how they would take care of your loved one if they were in your place (so obnoxious, isn’t it?) my experience is that the best and healthiest thing to do is simply walk away.
3. Create a meaningful daily ritual. Read the Bible. Pray. Sit in meditation or take a few deep breaths with the eyes closed.
4. Try something new; something never tried before. A new hobby. Painting. Learning how to knit or crochet. Maybe start a vegetable garden in the backyard.
5. About life in the future. A new job. Or a new career. Maybe a dream vacation. To the tropics? A tour to Alaska? A cruise along the Mediterranean? Go ahead, plan it out. For a week? How about two?
6. Sit down and assess what attitudes and strategies are still working and what aren’t. Those that are still working, keep. Those that aren’t, how about discovering (or re-discovering) ways that things can flow more easily?
While each season has it’s own gifts, Spring’s gifts is that of rebirth and renewal. If we can embrace those gifts and learn the lessons they have to offer, then we can reduce our stress and the overwhelm it brings, thereby making this Spring the best ever.
Karen Bromberg is the founder of Help You Thru, LLC, an online resource for family caregivers offering resources, relaxation and relaxation techniques to overwhelmed caregivers. Feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want more information about how you can make your caregiving journey easier? Join our mailing list.