The Caregiver’s Wellness Resolutions
By Ruth Mansmith MS, RN, CRRN, RAC-C
Author, national speaker, wellness coach
Fresh beginning is the theme of this article. It’s time for making changes and creating a hopeful future. However, with stress and fatigue, the caregiver may be tempted to forgo the annual ritual of creating New Year’s resolutions. In reality there is no better time than today to stop, assess and tweak your lifestyle. Why? Because small changes in specific areas of your life will impact your mood and energy level. Caregivers spend their time, energy and finances on others. Caregivers give until they are all used up. How can you give of your time and talents if your pot is empty? Taking care of you is not selfish; it is imperative.
The Power of a Positive Resolution
Historically, resolutions have been framed around quitting, stopping or eliminating bad habits. Several examples are: I am going to stop smoking, I am going to stop being so negative, I am going to stop eating sweets. You are more likely to keep a resolution if it has a positive tone. Let’s start the New Year on an upbeat note.
In this article, I give you the tools for you to make positive changes in your life. You will be taking a series of small manageable steps. At first it will seem as if there is no time in the day in which you can add one more task. The key is to start slowly. Don’t overwhelm yourself. In time, the results will be astounding. You will have more patience, energy and focus. And the best news is that you can create your new year at any time. Don’t wait until January first. Start your new year today.
With notebook in hand, lets get started. I have listed below six lifestyle categories. Let’s take each category in turn and make attainable positive resolutions.
Be specific as you write your resolutions. A poor example of a physical resolution is “I will stop sitting so much.” Unfortunately, this goal is not specific enough. A more specific and better goal is “I will walk two miles a day within two months time. Starting by walking two blocks a day I will add one block each week until I reach my two-mile daily goal.”
More examples of positive resolutions:
- “I will learn how to take better care of my body by buying and reading a book on health. I will add one new habit weekly.”
- “I will reach my desired weight by (date) by following a dietary program and increasing my activity.”
- “I will take care of my health by making appointments for preventive screening tests with my physician.”
Statistics show we can perform specific exercises to stay mentally sharp. A few examples of intellectual resolutions are as follows:
“I will find a brain puzzle I enjoy and play a few minutes daily”
“I will learn a new word and use it five times during the week.”
Emotional resolutions based on being in touch with our feelings are best. Here are a couple of examples:
“I will journal daily five things for which I am grateful.”
“I will buy a book about stress management strategies and read it. I will practice one new strategy weekly.”
Make a habit of connecting spiritually in different ways such as attending a church or synagogue service or appreciating the clouds or sunset.
“I will greet each day with a heartfelt thank-you to my maker.”
“I will slow down and look for God in all things and circumstances.”
Social wellness is not about how many friends you have; rather, it’s about being connected to another person.
“ I will purpose myself to connect with another person today.”
“I will sign up for an Internet social network and use it to connect with others.”
Opportunities abound to give back to society. Enjoying your job is a great example of vocational wellness. Volunteer work and recycling are other examples.
“I will have the job of my dreams by the end of this year. I’ll start by updating my resume followed by professional networking and Internet job searching. I will buy a book on this topic and follow the advice offered.”
“I will contribute to society by sharing my care-giving tips with others.”
Ruth Mansmith, a former CEO for a national chain of health-care facilities and author of the international award winning Fit For Life Wellness Program offers wellness strategies for people of all ages. She has trained thousands of participants across the country on strategies to avoid disease and enjoy the fullness of life. Currently, she is completing her latest book, the Wellness Handbook and offering private wellness consultation. Ruth can be reached at (561) 352-4456 or visit www.wellnesshandbook.com