Thinking about a fresh start for the new year and decade? We’ve got you covered. Here are 8 New Year’s resolutions to help busy working daughters find some balance and respite in 2020. Some of these resolutions coincide with the steps I outline in the book, Working Daughter: A Guide to Caring For Your Aging Parents While Making A Living. No need to tackle them all at once, though. Start the new year by focusing on the one that will make the biggest impact right now.
Accept. Caregiving was never in your life plan was it? But here you are. Have you been resistant to the idea? Resolve to accept that this is your current reality and shift your energy from negative to positive. Ask yourself, “So what? Now what?” Now that you are a caregiver, what actions can you take to make the role more manageable? What can you do each week to bake some joy into your life? It’s that simple – just answer those two questions. Research shows that caregivers who feel more accepting of their roles are more likely to realize positive benefits from caregiving.
Absolve. As caregivers, we navigate many different relationships – not all of them positive and not all of them from the present. Working with parents and siblings can drum up unresolved issues from our past. Once again, you need to save your energy so you can manage all of your caregiving-related responsibilities. Why not resolve to let go of any past resentments in order to better navigate the here and now? If you’re feeling frustrated and or hurt by someone right now, ask yourself these questions: Is what I am feeling in the present or from the past? Am I open to creating a new relationship based on today? Do these feelings serve any purpose for me now? Am I able to forgive? Only you can decide, but regardless of how you answer those questions, ask yourself, What behaviors from others am I willing to tolerate? Then set your boundaries accordingly.
Prioritize. As a busy working daughter, you juggle multiple priorities. Not all of them can command your full attention all of the time. Resolve to choose the areas of your life where you are going to thrive and the areas where you are going to glide. Then, tell yourself, good enough is good enough. Keep saying it until you believe it. Because it’s true!
Flex. Is your career a top priority this year? Good for you; there is power in earning! As a caregiver, you’re going to need flexibility on the job in order to juggle your personal and professional responsibilities. Resolve to build your confidence in order to put yourself in the best position to get the flexibility and support you need. If you don’t already have one, crate a Gold Star folder. Gather samples of your best work, emails and notes of praise, and any accolades that you’ve received over the years. Use it to remind yourself, and your boss, how valuable you are. And if you already have a folder, now is the perfect time to add to it.
Manage. Caregiving can be so overwhelming. So this year, resolve to control what you can control. There are aspects of this role you can manage and aspects you cannot. Where can you take control: finances, legal, end of life planning, health advocacy. Choose one, yes, just one for now, and get cracking!
Disrupt. Part of the reason caregiving can be so challenging is that, as a society, we lack the structures to support caregivers. Resolve to use your voice in 2020 and disrupt the status quo. Let employers and legislators know what you need and how you feel. Here are some suggestions to get you started: Start an elder care support group at work. Write to your local representatives in support of caregiver-friendly legislation. Vote!
Renew. You already know this: you can’t keep caring for others if you are not caring for yourself. Pick one thing that helps nourish your body and/or mind – it can be as simple as drinking your daily dose of water every day – and commit! Keep it simple and just get started.
Reflect. The life of a working daughter is hectic and leaves little time for examination. But reflecting on your caregiving experience can help you identify and make sense of the many emotions you undoubtedly experience. In 2020, why not resolve to take some time for self-reflection. Take 10 minutes either first thing in the morning or at the end of the night to think about your day. What went well? What can you learn? Bonus points if you write your thoughts down in a journal.