As one year passes and a new year has begun, marked by a fresh calendar, we spend time thinking about what we want to do differently in the coming days, weeks, and months. We ponder what worked well for us in the previous year and what we might want to change in the New Year. We consider our goals and the paths that will get us there. We think about who we want to become and make plans to change. Whether you are a caregiver or caring for a caregiver, we suggest taking a moment to consider New Year resolutions that will bring renewed peace, organization, and focus to your year.
Getting more exercise is one of the most popular New Year resolutions every year and for good reason. The Alzheimer’s Association reminds us that aerobic exercise is not only good for your muscles and heart, but also provides blood flow to the brain and stimulates brain cells. If an exercise regimen is on your resolution list this year, start slow. Too many people commit to too much early on and tire out by mid-January. Be realistic with yourself about how much time you have per day and week and create a plan that fits your schedule. Talk with your doctor about which exercises would be the most beneficial, without danger of injury or strain. Start slow and increase time and repetitions as you build strength and endurance.
Diet goes hand in hand with exercise and after a holiday season full of goodies and treats you might be ready for a fresh start. Healthy meals full of vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains are a great place to start. Commit to eating more homemade meals, rather than processed or fast food options. If you are caring for a caregiver or are making meals for a sick loved one, consider their treatments, conditions, allergies, and nutrient needs. In a previous blog, we explained how to pack and deliver meals that are easy for caregivers to eat and serve. Making meals that are freezer-friendly and easy to reheat later will help caregivers and their whole family stay focused on their New Year diets.
A New Hobby
If your New Year resolutions include time for yourself or a bit of respite from your caregiving responsibilities, you may want to dive into a new hobby. If there’s a skill you have wanted to try or a talent you have wanted to cultivate, now might be a good time to give it a try. You can even carve out time per week on your Lotsa Community calendar for friends and family to take over your caregiving responsibilities while you are at your new class or practice. Don’t be shy in asking for a little time for yourself. This mental and emotional break will be both rejuvenating and inspiring, allowing you to be a better caregiver. Take up a new instrument. Try a new sport. Get creative with a new craft or art project. Learn to dance. Whatever you try, dive right in! The AARP even has five tips for turning your hobby into a career!
If you found yourself buried in paperwork or overwhelmed by piles of stuff in the corners, on counters, in desks, and more, one of your New Year resolutions may be to get organized. Set aside time each day or each week to go through the piles and decide what needs to be kept and what can go. Remember that the mountains of paper and more weren’t built in a day and it may take a while to get them back to a manageable level, but one step at a time will get you there. If you find organizing overwhelming or you just don’t have the time, you may want to ask others in your Lotsa community to help you. A new perspective may bring just the fresh vision you need to get through the piles so you can see your countertop, table top, or desk yet again.
It may seem out of reach, but if traveling has always been on your New Year resolutions list, now may be the year to figure out how to make it happen. If you are caring for a loved one at home, it will take some planning to cover shifts or to prepare to have someone else care for them for a bit. Coordinate with a sibling, relative, or friend to stay with your loved one while you are gone. Make sure they have detailed information about medications, therapies or rehabilitations, appointments, schedules, and dietary restrictions. For everyone’s peace of mind, you may want to be sure you are traveling to a place where you can be reached by a cell phone, in case of an emergency or just a question or two.
If you have already started a Lotsa community, you may want to utilize the many features to keep you on track. Use the photo gallery to share pictures of your favorite healthy meals or yourself at the gym. Encourage others to comment with their own goals and steps along the way. Create new discussions in the message board to share ideas and tips. Post events with milestones to celebrate as you meet your goals as a community. Share recipes, favorites exercises, and more. Whether your community is around the corner or around the world, you can work together to hold each other accountable and make your New Year resolutions achievable this year.