“You’ve always had the power, my dear. You just had to learn it for yourself.” – Glinda the Good Witch
I recently had a conversation with a nonprofit about resources available to caregivers and I commented that no one seems to know how to help caregivers. We’re told to be sure to take care of ourselves too, and it ends there. The caregiver is left to fend for him or herself, along with the litany of other new responsibilities and tasks.
“But truth be told,” I tell her, “I’m not sure I have a better answer.”
There’s a pause on the other line. “You do, though; you figured out what resources helped you, what routines you needed, how to fit the things that mattered into your life. You found a solution, whether you were intentionally looking for it or not.”
After we hung up, I gave that some serious thought. Did I? Doesn’t everyone? Don’t we all sort of evolve to the circumstances in our life and find a way to make it work? Some better than others, perhaps, and we don’t often do it alone. While we can try to do it all ourselves, so many have taken this road before us already, and there are, in fact, many resources and wise owls out there that can help guide us.
What I found to work for me was creating daily habits of gratitude, exercise, a big ol’ calendar for all the activities going on, keeping a daily journal, and trying to keep my overall mood light. Also, learning to give myself some grace if I “waste time” relaxing or don’t meet a personal arbitrary deadline I set for myself. Sometimes a little talk therapy and a group who understands me is the very best medicine to calm any creeping anxiety. I eat healthy and drink alot of water but won’t turn down a chocolate chip cookie. It’s a balance. And it’s really nothing earth shattering or new. I’ve learned to be more intentional, and that’s about the best advice I can offer anyone. Be intentional about your attitude, your time, your energy. Decide what kind of person you want to be to those you love, and be intentional on being that person.
But how do we bridge the gap between resources out there, and caregivers who need them? I’d love to know what organizations or non-profits you’ve found beneficial in providing true value to your day to day experience. If you haven’t found what you need, what do you need? A break, I know. A strategy? A listening ear? A plan? Share what works for you and what you need to work better. Let’s work together to find solutions for the care giving community.