The start of the new year is thought of as a fresh start for many of us. It’s a time to hit the reset button and do the things we’ve been telling ourselves we want to do… but haven’t. Our New Year’s resolutions affect every part of our lives from school to relationships. The resolutions caregivers make are often focused on how they can do better for those they care for, but sometimes those goals end up being too lofty and unrealistic. The nature of caregiving can make some New Year’s resolutions like being more patient, not comparing your situation to others’, or worrying less about the care you give more than difficult.
We’ve set out 3 realistic New Year’s resolutions for 2021 that are practical and beneficial to every parent or caregiver.
3 Practical New Year’s Resolutions for Caregivers
Take a break before you burn out
It’s important and necessary to remember that you’re not just a caregiver. You are your own person with your own needs. In 2021, make time for yourself.
Between doctor’s appointments, schooling, activities, daily care, meals, cleaning, and shopping, set aside 20 to 30 minutes of time a day where you can be alone to have a cup of tea, read a chapter of a book or do a little yoga. Block it out in your schedule, and commit to not letting go of that time for other responsibilities.
Ask for help when you need it
Acting as a primary caregiver can make you feel as though you are the only resource for your loved one, and admitting that you aren’t able to do it all can be hard. “It” being 24/7 availability, specialized medical care, educational support, or any task you simply aren’t trained in.
If you’ve realized you may not be who or what your disabled loved one needs to overcome a challenge, make a resolution to be open to asking for help and practice asking. Start with trusted family and friends; ask them to stay with your disabled child or adult for a couple hours and take some time to regroup.
Join a community that lives with the same challenges
As a caregiver, you rely on educated professionals to provide the correct medical attention and point you in the correct direction of proper care for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. However, the commitments required to get this medical attention don’t often leave much time to learn from others who have a similar life experience.
In fact, we often hear how caregivers value the experience and input of parents and other caregivers facing the same challenges more than that of professionals who have not lived with the condition or provided direct care to an individual with the condition.
Resolve to find a community that fits your loved one’s and your family’s needs. We suggest engaging with the community behind #ActuallyAutistic adults on social media to hear their stories and methods. Don’t forget the Angel Guardians program Community Connections! Community Connections offers innovative services that provide unique and thematic opportunities and instruction. Our program is designed to positively impact all areas of development with a special focus on social skills and independence through fun, stimulating activities like swimming, bowling, art therapy, volunteering and more.