This weekend I had the football game playing in the background while doing some work, and when I looked up I thought; they all have a plan. Teams can’t do well in the game without first giving it thought, planning, reviewing plays other organizations are implementing, and practicing the plays over and over again.
Family caregivers need a game plan, too. Understandably, things arise without notice, but if you have a ‘footprint’ of what can be done not only for your loved one but for yourself, I do believe you’ll both benefit from it. You too may need to practice/adjust as you go along but having a general idea can be helpful.
Keeping track of things can be an essential part of that game plan for you. For instance, keep a record/journal of things that have happened with your loved one; i.e., ’11/13/18; Mom Started taking vitamin C per doctors orders 1/20/19; Mom started getting a cold today but seemed to bounce back rather quickly. Could be the vitamin C?’
I remember many times I tried thinking back about the last time something happened so that when we went into the doctor, I could be specific on certain events. Trying to ‘remember’ was frustrating. Having a notebook with the information made it so much easier to look back and have things definitively documented made it so much better.
We talk a lot about self-care for caregivers at Breathing Spaces for a reason. Self-care can reduce burnout and make you more effective as a family caregiver for your loved one. So what if you were to make a self-care game plan for yourself? Set up a routine; yes it may well shift but at least having something in place can keep you on task.
Practice deep breathing in the morning, at lunchtime and before you go to bed
Read something positive/inspirational in the morning and before you go to sleep
Start a hobby; something that brings you joy like photography, puzzles, crafts...
Walk; join us if you can and if not set a time to do so at least once a week (three times a week would be even better!)
Sit outside and stare a nature (it’s SO healing!)
Find a game plan that works best for you. But do start something, it's so healing for you and your loved one.