Practical Tips for Caregivers: Hit the Refresh Button

Caregivers can become immersed in an increasingly constrained world: The medications. The doctor’s appointments. The various physical needs that must be met.  And the tendency—often self-imposed—to cater to the desires of the person being cared for.

Sometimes it’s tough to remember, but taking time for yourself not only isn’t selfish, it’s the only thing that will enable you to keep going.

I know.  You don’t have time to do the things that are already on your plate. The routine is the only way to fit everything in, so you don't want to upset it; besides your mother finds it comforting. Don’t worry, not that much has to change. Just open yourself up a little.

Read an article you wouldn’t normally choose. If it’s interesting, good—you’ve found a new interest. If it’s not, ask yourself who would like it and why? Better yet, ask someone else.

Pick up a new vegetable. Then figure out how to cook it. Invite someone else to sample it too.

Find an actor or director whose work you like—and watch their whole oeuvre. Now you're a bit of an expert. 

Wear your hair down. Or up. Or with bangs. Shake things up. If you don’t like it, you can always go back to the old way. The beautiful thing about hair: it grows.

Learn a new word. Then see how many times you can fit it in your conversation that day.

Spring clean. Even if it’s August before you get to it. A drawer a day takes just a few minutes. And you’ll feel so much lighter without all that stuff you never use.

Be curious. Ask questions. Make sure they include “Why?” And “Why not?”

Keep moving. Physically. Mentally. And emotionally. It keeps you limber, engaged, and energetic.