Follow these three tips over Labor Day weekend and you’ll find your spirits uplifted by next week Tuesday morning.
1. Plan to spend some time with different family members or friends.
You need a refreshing change of pace.
If you care for a loved one at home try to get away for a several-hour respite. Some of my non-caregiving friends even invited us to their homes where they did all the cooking, cleaning, and even entertaining, allowing David and I a little respite from caring for my father.
If making arrangements to have someone care for your loved one while you’re away seems overwhelming or your loved one is not able to get around, invite a few close friends, neighbors, or family members to your home for an afternoon potluck. I invited friends (many of them present or former caregivers) to my home for a potluck. Many hands make light work. With friends to help prepare food and clean up amidst fun stories shared and laughter, my spirits were always lifted. You’ll be surprised how well this works– after you explain the situation. (It also depends on the people in your life.) Try it!
2. Put a dent in your ever-growing To Do List.
If you’re like me, it seems your To Do List gets longer and longer with each passing week.
Each time I have an extended weekend, I start with a very long and ambitious list (and the expectations to match). I “plan” to get “all caught up” with a list that has been ongoing for several decades. I’m disappointed when I still see the piles of non-urgent mail, magazines, and books; the photos needing to be organized; or the videos I’ve taken that need to be transferred and edited.
Over the years, since age eight (I’m not kidding), I’ve learned to carve out several-hour blocks of time, at least one weekend each month (more often lately, because I’m making progress). I’ve taken inches off my piles and even reduced my backlog of eMails from 1,600 down to around 400. It’s feels slow but I know as long as I keep it up I’m making steady progress.
Review your list and see what you can accomplish in a 3-hour period.
Your accomplishment will lift your spirits.
3. Take time out to do something you want to do.
This weekend, my husband and I will take a five- to ten-mile hike (depending on the terrain) in the Angeles National Forest. This will be our half day adventure.
If your care recipient is able to join you, you might want to go to a park, museum, aquarium, movie, or do something both of you can do.
While caring for my father, we’d reminisce as we reviewed his old notes and photos. He saved everything including his English-language composition book from 1929. Enjoy this time with your loved one and strengthen the stories you share that will one day be only memories.
On this the eve of an extended Labor Day weekend:
- Get together with different family members and friends for a change of pace.
- Set reasonable expectations to make a dent in your To Do List.
- Take time to do something YOU want to do.
My best wishes to you and for your success!
Brenda Avadian, MA