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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Huelat

Caregiver Resolutions for a Joyous 2024

As the final moments of 2023 unfold, you may be feeling the weariness from the whirlwind of holiday events and the strain of caregiving. It might seem challenging to muster up enthusiasm for a "Happy New Year." Yet, amidst the fatigue, let's endeavor to welcome 2024 with joy and celebration. As we bid farewell to 2023, let's not overlook the pockets of happiness this year offered: the unexpected bloom on a solitary walk, the surprise visit from your granddaughter, the shared smile over a bowl of ice cream, or the unexpected embrace from a stranger that lifted your spirits. These seemingly small instances are the threads of joy woven into our lives, often missed in the hustle of daily stress but vital for our well-being.

How about creating a list? Pour yourself a cup of hot chocolate, grab a cookie, and jot down these moments of happiness. Reflect on how you can invite more of these into your life in 2024. Once we've reminisced about the joys of 2023, let's craft resolutions tailored to ease the burdens of caregiving for those with dementia and unearth more joy in the journey.

Firstly, let's turn inward and consider our own well-being. Self-care isn't just a luxury; it's a necessity for both a happy caregiver and a positive influence on our loved ones. I've distilled this into three manageable resolutions: Reenergize Yourself, Celebrate Old Memories, and Engage with Nature. Trust me; these are achievable and impactful.

Reenergizing starts with the basics: nutrition, sleep, and exercise. It might seem like a tall order, especially amid caregiver responsibilities, but it's fundamental for your health and ability to care for your loved one. Simple changes like increasing your fruit intake or keeping healthy snacks handy can make a world of difference. And don't forget the power of a delightful coffee break or treating yourself to a flavored tea.

Sleep might seem elusive, but there are aids—podcast sleep stories, lavender mists, herbal teas, or my personal favorite, a luxurious bubble bath. On restless nights, turning to journaling has been surprisingly effective. And if a nap is needed the next day, take it. Prioritize exercise, especially outdoors. A brisk morning walk can be refreshing and mentally uplifting, and your friends or family might gladly lend support while you take this vital time for yourself.

Next, there's immense joy in revisiting old memories. Flip through photo albums, relive family events, reminisce about hobbies or past trips—it's not just beneficial for you but also for your loved one. Engage in story hours or music sessions together; it stimulates the mind and evokes cherished memories.

Lastly, reconnect with nature. Embrace the outdoors, even if briefly. It's rejuvenating for both you and your loved one. Even on dreary days, try a bit of "window gazing." Watch birds at the feeder or spend time with your pets—their unconditional love can work wonders. When weather permits, savor your lunch or coffee amidst nature's embrace. It's a chance to momentarily set aside chores and revel in the beauty around you.

So, here's to a Happy New Year and a fresh perspective as we welcome 2024. May it be filled with anticipation for joyful moments and a renewed sense of well-being.

Happy New Year 2024!

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