What Will You Do with Your Blank Slate?
2022 is here. Finally!
The week or so after New Year’s celebrations end is the time of year when many people take stock of their lives. What could be better? What could be different?
The start of a new year is like looking at a chalkboard that has been wiped clean. It’s a blank slate ready to be written on. We’re aware of the possibilities. Life can be whatever we make it, we tell ourselves.
If you’re caring for elderly loved ones, the new year can mean a fresh start. What will you write on the blank slate that is 2022?
Try these ideas.
What are your thoughts about your situation? Do you look on the bright side? Or do your thoughts trend negative? The way you experience your life is shaped to a large degree by the stories you tell yourself about what happens to you. Is your story a positive one? If not, look for ways to the silver linings in your situation. Find humor in the day wherever you can, even amid disappointment.
Improve Your Habits
Do you have certain favorite behaviors that help you cope with life’s uncertainty, much like a toddler relies on his favorite blankie? Smoking, drinking, overeating, overspending, and lack of exercise are just a few of the many habits people pick up along the way, all in the name of buffering themselves from life’s unpleasantness. Will 2022 be the year you drop these habits in favor of a healthier lifestyle? If you feel enslaved by bad habits, the 21/90 rule can help you turn things around. The rule is simple. Commit to a goal for 21 straight days. After three weeks, the pursuit of that goal should have become a habit. Once you've established that habit, continue to do it for another 90 days.
Make Self-Care a Priority
Many caregivers put themselves last. Are you one of them? Why not make 2022 the year you make time for yourself? It’s not selfish to take an hour out of each day to read, walk, work on a favorite hobby, treat yourself to a massage, or do something you find meaningful. If you feel too constrained by caregiving obligations, look for resources that will free up time, such as an errand service or personal assistant. One of the best forms of self-care is spending time with like-minded people. Caregiver support groups are great for this.
Look After Your Spirit
When is the last time you took time to connect to your spiritual side? There are lots of things you can do. Set aside a few minutes each day for prayer, meditation, devotions, or journaling. If you belong to a church or faith community, attend services and fellowship events. Consider developing a gratitude practice. Make a list of ten things you’re grateful for at the end of each day and then reflect on them. It’s a subtle yet powerful way to shift your attitude.
Connect with Others
Consider talking about the ups and downs of your elder care journey with trustworthy people. Is there a relative you could confide in? A friendly person from a support group? As the old saying goes, a burden carried alone is doubled; a burden shared is halved. You may be surprised at the people who are willing to offer a compassionate listening ear.
The new year will be whatever you make it. What steps will you take to make 2022 your best year yet? If you need support or guidance along the way, Kimbrough Law is here to help.