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    New Year’s Resolutions for Caregivers

    January 26, 2021

    2020 was one of the most challenging years many of us can remember. The anxiety, fear, and isolation brought on by the pandemic created enormous stress — and that’s on top of whatever else we already carry. For those who are caregivers for a loved one during this time, this past year likely felt incredibly overwhelming. 

    As we move into 2021, it’s time to think about what we want to carry with us and what we want to let go. However, it may be difficult to set typical New Year’s resolutions in such an atypical time. I’ve collected some simple, achievable self-care resolutions that you can adapt to make your own.

      • Take five slow deep breaths every morning. Try to inhale to fill your belly, rather than a shallow chest breath. Deep breathing counteracts stress, lowers your heart rate, and has numerous other benefits. Connect your deep breathing to a daily routine (you could write yourself a little note by the coffeemaker as a reminder), and you’ll find yourself automatically incorporating it into your day. For example, when my phone rings, I like to take one deep breath before I answer. Deep breathing calms my nerves and clears my head before I dive into a phone call.
      • Create a body-friendly computer set-up. Dan Cayer, an Alexander Technique teacher, created this charming DIY diagram that shows easy solutions to creating an ergonomic workspace using items you already have around the house.
      • Stretch your body. This link has some simple chair yoga poses that feel amazing and can be done right in your office chair. You can set a daily reminder on your phone for a quick stretch break.
      • Decrease your Spam calls. My day is continuously interrupted by Spam calls, either from legitimate companies or from scammers. There are a few options to decrease the number of robocalls you receive. Legitimate companies will consult the national “Do Not Call” list (https://www.donotcall.gov). It’s useful to get your phone number on this list. It took me about 30 seconds to register my phone number on this link and click the confirmation email. Although this only removes you from legitimate sales calls, the ease of adding my number to this No-Call list (that never expires) is worth it! However, most of the calls I receive are from scammers. Many phone carriers have created options to ward off those daily spam calls. PC Mag has published an article about the various ways to block scammers from even reaching your phone. You can even silence all unknown callers and send them straight to your voicemail, so you don’t hear your phone ring from unknown callers at all. (Just a note on this: I tried this out. It was great for avoiding spam calls, but I did run into an issue when my food delivery person couldn’t reach me!)
      • Find creative inspiration. Take a moment each day to listen to new music or explore a new work of art or a poem. It’s easy to find these online! NPR Music has some great playlists to explore new genres easily. Or you can explore art in a whole new way through https://artsandculture.google.com/explore You can also sign up to receive a poem a day in your email through https://poets.org/poem-a-day.
      • Start a low-pressure gratitude journal. You don’t need to write in it every day, but it can sit on your nightstand and for when you’re able. Keeping a gratitude journal can lower stress and keep you focused on the positive aspects of life. It’s helpful to read through when you’re having a tough day, as a reminder of all the things that keep you going. For some simple tips on how to start, click here. For more benefits of gratitude journaling and to learn about our Gratitude Project, click here.  (link to our Gratitude Journal blog)
      • Give yourself some respite. If you’re caring for someone who needs daily assistance, is there anyone you know who could provide a few hours of care so you can have a little time for yourself? You can also call us at True Care, and we’d be happy to speak to you about how we can help. If you want to explore this option, please reach out to me at 917-620-9102.

    I hope these thoughts spark additional ideas on setting self-care oriented goals amid the daily workload and personal responsibilities you may have. May 2021 bring you unexpected joys, healing, and self-care.

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