Saturday, November 27, 2010

A great holiday article for Caregivers...

Okay, once again, I would like to share an article by Carol Bradley Bursack, which I read on this morning. I have to admit that this Christmas even when I simply anticipate what I need to do to prepare, it creates a feeling of wear and tear. In past years I'd just take a deep breath, the adrenaline would appear, and I'd motor right through all the things that needed my attention. I don't try to do a "perfect" holiday any longer--I've learned that just is pretty much impossible without a staff of dozens, or hundreds!--but I do try to do something special for every family member. This season we've all been fighting colds, and as the symptoms have lingered our energy levels have just sagged. Not an ideal start to what is usually the busiest season of the year, but I believe this is completely typical for sandwich-generation Boomers like my husband and me.

When I read Carol's article just now, I realized I was ready to have that discussion with our family and just say, "Hey, I need to scale back this year and just do what I really feel capable of tackling." I know they won't mind (they'll probably say, "Duh, we were wondering when you'd finally figure that out!") and we'll have a quiet and relaxed Christmas holiday season (I hope--that's at least the plan). That's something our family can truly enjoy and be thankful for, and we will all be able to start off the new year with some energy instead of ongoing fatigue.

For me, part of this is that I'm now in my mid-fifties and just am less spry than in past years. It takes me a little longer to get things done than it used to. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around that and plan accordingly. When I need to paint a room, as I intend to do today, I know it's going to be slow going. I'll get it done but tomorrow I'll be a little stiff and sore, and I need to expect and plan for a little extra rest if possible.

Another part is that I need to pay more attention to my own health and am trying to walk as many days a week as I possibly can. I need to both lose some pounds and just get in better shape overall. There has to be time for that, which I usually end up spending on something else that seems more important at that moment. Remember the "tyranny of the urgent?" I've tried to recognize and fight that for years, but it's a persistent, wily encroacher. I usually try to prioritize based on "good, better, best" but now I need to prioritize based on how much energy I really have to tackle each "to-do" on my list without paying a personal price.

I'm not used to looking at things in that way and it feels selfish when I do, but my goal is to be here for the long run--for my husband, my mom, and our children and grandchildren. Oh, and now that I've been a caregiver for a few years, the idea of "being here for the long run" means healthy, reasonably active (based on my age at the time), and still able to help my family by doing my part well.

Please take a moment to read Carol's article. I hope it blesses and encourages you as it did for me.

Caregiver at Home

Carol's article is here:

Keep Your Sanity This Holiday Season

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