It’s easy to minimize, but healthy resolutions for the new year can be very helpful for caregivers. Making resolutions is a controversial issue and there are definitely pros and cons to doing them but as a busy caregiver, here is why I make my own personal new year resolutions.
I wasn’t always into making healthy resolutions for the new year. When I was young and in my 20’s, I was very diligent about making them. But as my life grew full with a hubby, kids, schedules etc., it seemed I would make resolutions but then forget about them as soon as they were made.
This made me feel pretty disappointed in myself so I stopped making new year resolutions for many years. Until I became a caregiver. That is, a care provider for my guy with Parkinson’s disease.
I Forgot Who I Was When I Became A Caregiver
When Doug was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, I stepped hard and fast into the caregiver mode. So much so that I really just forgot about myself for a time, and put all of my effort into learning about Parkinson’s disease, how to treat it, repercussions and what our life might look like down the road. Basically I jumped fast back into my nursing role and forgot about everything else.
Then I got burnt out, and I started resenting Doug for ‘taking up so much of my time’, when in reality, he wasn’t at all. Doug hadn’t asked me for anything. I chose to go down the Parkinson’s disease rabbit hole and, at that time, Doug needed zero help in living his life.
So gradually I began loosening up on being Doug’s care partner, when it wasn’t even necessary at that time, and I stepped back into my regular routine with my own goals and dreams. Of course my goals and dreams were adjusted because of Doug’s diagnosis but they weren’t entirely forgotten.
After a year or two from when Doug was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, I began making resolutions again, but this time they were very well thought out, healthy resolutions for the new year, not just random wishes.
Now I Make Healthy Resolutions For The New Year
Now my new year’s resolutions are clear and specific, and they pertain to how I can best show up in the world – both for Doug as a caregiver, and as a whole, healthy human being within my community.
Showing up means I want to be as healthy and vibrant as I can be. Which means taking action steps daily in regards to nutrition and the food I eat, sleep, physical activity, stress management and more.
I am not saying I am perfect – far from it. But setting goals and visualizing they type of person you want to be helps to turn goals into reality. Visualization takes practice. It’s difficult to make things happen if you don’t have a clear plan. Of course sometimes we all fall into life circumstances, both good and bad, but visualizing and having a clear picture in your mind I believe makes your goals and dreams a reality that much sooner.
How To Make Healthy New Year Resolutions
Here are some ways I go about making healthy resolutions for the new year.
Reflection comes first because if we don’t know where we are at, what happened previously, then it will be difficult to be specific about where you want to go and how you want to move forward.
This is the time to let your mind go free and dream about all of the healthy things and behaviors you want for yourself. It does not just have to be physical health, it can also be healthy thoughts and behaviors, healthy attitudes, healthy friends, healthy and mindful purchases, healthy spiritual life etc.
While you are dreaming, put all of these thoughts on paper. It can be in the form of words, sketches, drawings, photographs, magazine clippings etc.
I particularly like photographs and magazine clippings because it instantly gives me a perfect visual of where I’d like to be.
If you really want to make your healthy resolutions come to fruition, make a vision board! Vision boards are very powerful tools. I have made several over the years and they are super fun to look back on later. No joke, 99% of my vision board notes, comments, and pictures have all come true.
You can also download a vision board app to create one on your phone or ipad. Check out THIS article for reviews on several different vision board apps.
Personally I still like to create my vision boards the old school way. I like to take my time creating, designing, and looking at pictures. I find the process of making a real live vision board, versus a virtual board, to be very relaxing and therapeutic.
Look, review, and look again
Now that you’ve made your healthy resolutions for the new year, be it through writing, drawing, scrapbooking, or with a vision board, now is the time to look at it and review it daily. You can’t make goals and resolutions and then not address them every single day.
I find looking at my goals every morning while I am getting ready for the day to be the most helpful. Some people even tape them onto their bathroom mirror for easy access. Whatever works for you is great. Just make sure to review them daily.
Healthy Ideas For Your New Year Resolutions
To get you started and to get your juices flowing, here are some ideas for healthy caregiver new year resolutions.
NOTE: These are just some ideas, take them or leave them. They are only meant to get you thinking.
- Do some form of physical activity for 15 minutes everyday (walking, stretching, weight or band exercises, yoga etc.)
- Walk after meals
- Get a massage one time per month
- Get a facial one time per month
- Make the majority of the food you eat on a daily basis non-processed food
- Limit alcoholic drinks to weekends only
- Reduce consumption of sweet sugary snacks
- Buy a piece of cardio equipment to have easy access in your home
- Start a yoga practice, in person or online
- Meditate for a minimum of 10 minutes per day
- Write in a journal everyday
- Commit to seeing a licensed therapist at least one time per month
- Learn to crochet (or any other craft you have been wanting to learn)
- Take a class, either in person or online (ex. sign language class, photography, art history, etc.)
- Start a gratitude journal
- Read one book per month on improving your mental health
- Meditate for a minimum of 10 minutes daily
- Start a gratitude journal
- Attend church service on a regular basis
- Read the Bible daily (or other spiritual readings)
- Join a connect group through your local church
- Do a spiritual reading or Bible plan every morning or evening
- Get in the habit of praying daily
- Start a walking group
- Start a knitting or craft group
- Volunteer your services or time one time per month
- Coffee with friends a minimum of one time per month (even if it’s online virtually)
- Go to the farmers market to buy produce and get to know your local farmers
- Volunteer at your church or any other community organization
- Start a poker club 😉
This year I highly recommend you make some healthy resolutions for yourself. They don’t have to be anything big and crazy. Just a few small things to help you remember that you are important and worthy of goal setting as well.
As A Caregiver Don’t Forget About Your Own Health
Sometimes we as caregivers forget about our own health and our own dreams and future because we are so busy caring for our loved ones. Sometimes it’s easy to just stop dreaming because you may feel like you don’t really have a future anymore – or at least not a hopeful future.
Don’t despair. I believe there is always beauty in the ashes, and you are worth investing in a little time to dream, and make goals for yourself and your own future.
In the past I gave up making new year’s resolutions but now, as a caregiver, it is my time to dream big about my future. It may not look like I originally thought but I know I can make it beautiful and perhaps even better. Lemonade out of lemons. This always should be our mantra
check out these other posts for healthy recipes and great gift giving ideas for busy care partners
VIDEO: Back Into The Caregiver Routine After My Trip to California
I had the good fortune of spending the Christmas holiday with my three children in California. What a great trip it was. Check out this video! My return to Cape Cod and how I get back into the swing of work and life as a caregiver.
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