Just Live and Learn
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi
The calendar has flipped to another New Year. You may have set some personal and professional goals and resolutions to achieve this year.
If you are like most caregivers, the enthusiasm and promise you held for those goals on January 1st may already be fading as your current needs and responsibilities overshadow those desires. This is so understandable, especially for those whose days are filled with completing tasks that benefit others who they are caring for.
As a caregiver, you are learning and earning a Ph.D. in life. There is nothing more educational than supporting loved ones through the journey of coping with disabilities, illness, or injuries.
Meanwhile. It is possible to lose yourself and your deserved focus on your own needs during the caregiving journey. This can lead to depression, hopelessness, or resentment.
Staying energized with a zest for life is dependent on your on-going quest for learning and the pursuit of your passions. Here are a few tips to keep you on the path.
- Dump the New Year’s resolutions. Do not hold yourself accountable to goals you set on January 1st. It is just a single day in the calendar. You can set a meaningful goal for yourself any time you want. Once you set a goal, make sure it is achievable and follow through with it.
- Get an accountability partner. Once you set a new goal, share it with someone who will help to hold you accountable to seeing it through. That person can be a coach or trusted family member or friend. Your goal is more likely to be achieved if you have someone to cheer you on as you share progress and who will lift you up if you get sidetracked.
- Live in the moment. Find at least one thing to do each day that gives you comfort and let yourself fully experience it even if for only a few minutes. Turn off distractions and provide yourself with the clarity and space to enjoy your activity.
- Throw yourself a weekly pity party. As a caregiver, thoughts can easily flow to painful memories or the yearning for life prior to caregiving. Or, thoughts can flow to fear for the future with anticipatory grief, hopelessness or financial strain. If you are dwelling on the past or thinking about the future, you are not allowing yourself to be in the present moment.One of the best ways to deal with this is to dedicate a time once per week to let it all out. Don’t feel guilt or shame for having these negative thoughts and feelings. Experience and release them once a week, privately through writing or talking aloud. You may even benefit from finding a trusted confidant or group of friends who will listen and share.
- Be curious and open to learning new things. Just by getting to this point of this article, you have demonstrated that you are willing to learn. What have you set aside but had a curiosity about? Take a few moments to answer this question and then determine the first step to take on your journey of learning. As long as you are open to learning, you can live fully throughout 2016 and beyond.