Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Parents and Caregivers: Staying committed when the going gets tough

Let's face it, life isn't easy. We have our ups and downs. Things shift from easy to hard - even harder when it's someone we love. As a parent, I've felt this on many levels. Making it happen is no longer an option. We love our children or our parents (for all you caregivers out there). We want them to be happy. But it can get messy sometimes. Unlike our careers or even our friendships, it's not something we can walk away from. In the end it's a choice we embrace. But what happens on those days we're fed up? We've had a long day. Our mind is out of sorts. No one says thank you. We just want to take care of ourselves. Is that even possible? I'll take a leap and say that it is, as long as you don't shoot the messenger :)

Here's a few things you can try:

1. Find ways to weave joy in your day. What is it that you like to do? Draw? Dance? Sing? Read? Set aside 20 minutes a day. It may end up being 1 in the morning. Maybe even 5am. Whatever it takes. Put a sign up not to disturb. This is your special time - no interruptions. As you take this time, let go of the stress in your mind. Encourage yourself to smile. Allow yourself to breathe. Hold on to these moments. You may need flashbacks later.

2. Try mental imagery. Think about a pleasant moment – a pleasant face. Picture that in moments of drama: When your child is flipping out - when you have to get up early. Close your eyes and change the scene. Then, if you can bear it, smile. In the end it's only drama if you give it the fuel to be.

3. Surround yourself with reminders. Hang up pictures you like, inspirational words - whatever brings moments of peace. Let your eyes focus on these images. Allow them to put things in perspective.

4. Reflect on your feelings of gratitude. Yes things get crazy. You lose your mind from time to time. But what a beautiful family you have. Think about your moments alone. They're nice, but somehow you end up missing the noise - the sound of life tracking mud through your kitchen. Sometimes the laughter starts to drown out the tears.

5. Chat it up with some of your friends. It feels better when you don't feel alone. Their stories may be crazier than yours. Plus maybe they have some tips. Maybe they have a new joke. Maybe they'd be willing to babysit. Hey, you never know ;)

No comments:

Post a Comment