Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The "It's Done" List

November is National Caregivers Month. I asked readers to share their favorite way they have to care for themselves. Readers who left a comment were entered into a Rafflecopter Giveaway for one copy of UNCOMMON beauty – Crisis Parenting From Day One.

Thanks to everyone who entered - the drawing winner was Julia Potter!

The comments that were left all had to do with exercise. One reader said that joining the local YWCA has been a fun way to get out of the house and the cost of the membership fee provided motivation. Another reader said that taking Zumba classes with a friend was a great pick-me-up. As for myself, I continue to love walking outside. I have an extra incentive to get out for my daily walk now that we have a puppy who comes along.

Over this Thanksgiving Holiday I am going to see how many ways my family can infuse exercise into how we spend our time: fall hikes, a game of Frisbee or soccer, some raking of leaves, swimming, basketball, even some Wii sports. I would love to hear how readers infuse exercise in your holiday.

Finding ways to reduce stress is an essential component in how caregivers care for themselves. As a caregiver, I am learning to recognize that much of my stress is self- imposed. I would like a house that is tidy and welcoming, paperwork neat and organized, meals planned and cooked, laundry clean and put away, homework embraced, interests outside of parenting. All of these goals are good, but there is only so much one person can do.

In our household there is always more to do than I can finish. This fact creates a lot of stress in my life. I feel frustrated leaving things undone. But wait – what if I look at all that I have done.

I think if we added up all that we do in a day we would be amazed.

How about making an “It’s Done!” list instead of a "To Do" list?

Just start somewhere: a pesky pile of paperwork, a load of laundry, dishes. Finish one thing. Then go to a beautiful piece of paper that says “It’s Done!” and write it down. Making the list something you enjoy looking at is an extra bonus – it amplifies all the positive energy you are creating.

Try printing off some free artistically decorated paper from the internet.  

Designs by Sandy is one site I have used that offers a variety of printable designs.

The "It's Done" game is my visual reminder 
that I am making progress, 
accomplishing good things, and getting stuff done. 
No matter how much work is pressing down on me, 
it feels great to see how much I’ve done.  
The momentum has been created, 
I am inspired, and I feel productive.

“It’s Done!”: Fed kids breakfast and gave medicine, emptied dishwasher, walked dog, washed dog, answered e-mail, cleared away one pile of paperwork, cleaned off dining table, helped Evan finish project, went up to school to drop off & pick up homework while Evan is at home sick (all by 10:00 a.m. – still a lot of the day to go!)

Hey – let’s get the kids involved. Jonathan is on vacation today and longing to earn a new toy. He is all for making an “I Did It” list recording all the ways he is responsible: practicing cello, doing homework, washing windows, sweeping floors, cleaning room, walking dog. Of course Evan can’t be left out: finishing school work, organizing books, helping mom clean tables.

I am thankful for all the accomplishments we make together. Let’s celebrate what we have done and for the next few days put away the “need to do” lists and enjoy the holiday. Let’s get some exercise and be thankful for time. Let’s allow ourselves the luxury of putting away self-imposed stress and enjoy where we are right now.

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Caring for the Caregiver

The National Family Caregiver Association names November National Caregiver's Month.  Throughout the month I will have an ongoing discussion on Marg's Memos about Caring for the Caregiver.  Why is this important?  Where can we find help?  What are the best resources? What are the ways caregivers can care from themselves?

You, the Family Caregivers, are the biggest resources we have to find the answers to these questions.

So, in the spirit of Caring for the Caregiver I am asking you, the Family Caregiver, to enter a give away contest by leaving a short comment sharing one way you care for yourself or one resource that you rely on. 

In return, one of those individuals will be randomly chosen to receive a give away prize - one copy of Uncommon Beauty - Crisis Parenting From Day One.

To get the sharing started, I am leaving a link to the National Family Caregiver's Association page titled, "Tips and Tools".

Perhaps the first step in caring for yourself is to make an announcement to yourself and the world, "I need some time for me."  Then put it on the calendar and make it happen.  And I mean: literally, write it on the calendar - time for me to (fill in the blank).  Find a way to treat yourself to some time to rest and rejuvenate.   I am looking forward to reading about the ways you find and use this time.

Invitation:  Come see Margaret Meder speak in Madison, WI on Thursday, November 8, at 5:30 at the Community Living Alliance.  The event is titled "The Power of The Family Caregiver".  I would love to see you there!  For more information and to make a reservation, call: 242-8335 Ext. 1378.  R.S.V.P. by Monday 11/5.  

**You are welcome to leave your comment on the blog comments below, to share with all readers.  However, to enter the give away, you must follow the Rafflecopter giveaway link above and post your comment there.  Thank you!