Happy New Year! Resolutions are so easy to make but so damn challenging to keep. Not to worry. Here are 4 resolutions that will help you hit the reset button, and, that you will be able to stick to well past January 31.
1. Practice gratitude. Research shows that taking the time to acknowledge what we are thankful for can help us put difficult situations into perspective, reduce our stress and make us happier. Show me a working daughter who doesn’t need some of that! A gratitude practice doesn’t need to be onerous. You don’t need to buy a fancy journal (but you certainly can). All you need to do is commit to identifying at least one thing every day that you are grateful for. Make it your habit to do this before you fall asleep or first thing every morning. Maybe it’s the fact you have a soft pillow to rest your head on. Make it’s your cup of coffee. Anything counts. Bonus points if you can list 5 things each day.
2. Banish magical thinking. Balancing eldercare with a job, kids, your life, is all about energy management. You need physical energy to power through the millions of tasks you do each day. You need mental energy to focus on the important issues like your parent’s well being, your well being, your assignments at work, your partner’s and children’s needs. You need emotional energy just to face each day and each new challenge. Don’t waste that precious energy thinking that something, or someone, you know will never change, might do just that. Your brother who’s been promising to install grab bars in your parents’ bathroom for a year? He’s not going to do it. Your mother who refuses to follow simple instructions? She won’t change. She can’t – she has cognitive decline. Yes it sucks, it’s unfair, and it’s frustrating. So what? Now what? Stop hoping things will be different and you’ll be able to put that energy toward more productive endeavors.
3. Hydrate. That’s right – all we are suggesting is that you simply resolve to drink more water in 2019. Drinking water is the simplest thing you can do to take care of yourself. And the benefits are huge. Water helps your blood transport oxygen and other nutrients to your cells, it increases your energy levels, and it makes your skin look great. If you exist solely on caffeine and soda, commit to one or two glasses a day. If you’re pretty good about drinking H2O during the day, get better by adding two more glasses. If you’re religious about drinking 8 ounces 8 times a day, aim for 72 ounces.
4. Say thank you. Caregiving can feel so thankless, as if the people in our lives just expect us to do what we do for them. Sometimes it feels like no one notices how hard we work. In 2019, resolve to change that. Resolve to look in the mirror every day and tell yourself, “Thank you. I see you. I appreciate you.” After all, how you feel about how you are living your life is really all that matters.
Simple habits can have huge benefits. Pick one or all of the above resolutions and show 2019 just who is in charge of your well being.