You’ve thrown your hands up in the air and declared that something must change. Suffer a major loss? You’re ready for a fresh start. While your current situation may be challenging, the intention of making a fresh start is a good sign. It’s much better than giving up!
What do you need to change? Is it just one area of your life or do you need a complete makeover?
You can make a fresh start in any area of your life:
1. Home. Consider giving your living arrangement a makeover. You could move to a new home or change your existing home. Move the furniture or purchase new furniture. Paint the walls a new color. Convert a spare room into a room with a purpose. It could be dedicated to music, arts and crafts, or meditation.
2. Finances. Create a budget. Work a second job. Talk to a financial advisor. Find a job with a higher salary. Address your debt. Plan for your retirement. Look at your current financial challenges and finally address them with a detailed, step-by-step plan you can stick to.
3. Social life. It’s time to say goodbye to the people in your life that drag you down and replace them with those that provide a boost to your life. Meet some new friends and try a few new social activities. Work on your dating skills and catch the partner of your dreams.
4. Health and body. Hire a personal trainer and join a gym. Find a diet that works for you. Address any health issues you might have. Visit the doctor and the dentist. Try a new sport.
5. Career. Ask for a raise or change jobs. Grab your career by the horns and learn new skills that will make a difference. Consider going back to school.
6. Belief structure. Investigate a new religion or philosophy. Learn how to meditate. Question your beliefs and find a purpose. Read a good book each month and apply what you learn.
These are just a few ideas. You can also address your current relationships, attitude, or fears. It isn’t necessary to change everything at once. In fact, addressing one area at a time will yield better results.
When I caregived my Mom, I found it super important that Mom and I eat together with a routine so that she would get healthy nourishment and food didn’t get hid or fed to the dog under the table. I discovered that preparing familiar recipes enticed appetite (and memories!) For example, my Mom recalled picking blueberries when she was a girl when I made blueberry cake or a smoothie and shared interesting stories about living on the back road. Having a bird feeder outside the window also inspired meal time conversations. Using dessert plates without patterns and serving small portions and soft foods seemed to work best.
Thought I would share my ‘Ginger Zinger Smoothie’ which was a popular choice at my former cafe. Enjoy!
1 frozen banana (8 chunks)
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
2 tsp. grated ginger
2 cups frozen kale
1 cup almond milk
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. raw honey
As a caregiver, we can sometimes feel stuck and need to look in the right place for answers. Asking yourself questions is an excellent way to find the answers you need. The right questions can be stimulating to your thought process. Ask yourself these questions and you’ll get answers that you can use.
Ask yourself the questions that matter the most:
How do I sabotage myself? We all sabotage ourselves. We talk ourselves out of things that would lead to success and happiness. We procrastinate. We compare ourselves harshly to others.
Make a list of the ways you’ve sabotaged yourself in the past. Be on the lookout for these same patterns in the future.
How can I use more of the useful knowledge and skills I already have? In today’s world, we know more than we ever have. The average person knows enough to make a million dollars, have the body of a Greek god or goddess, and marry a supermodel. Why don’t you use all the great things you already know?
Consider all the things you know about diet and exercise. Do you apply that knowledge?
How much do you know about saving and investing for the future? What can you do to brighten your financial outlook?
How much do you know about relationships? Are you taking full advantage of that information? Why not?
Imagine what your life would look like if you applied everything you already know. Most people are convinced they don’t know enough. In reality, they just don’t perform the actions that they know to be effective or avoid counterproductive actions.
Make a list of everything you do that you know you shouldn’t. Then make a list of everything you fail to do, but know that you should.
What can I control? What can I not control? We spend far too much time worrying about things that can’t be controlled. We spend too little time effectively controlling those things that are within our realm of control
Most of our childhood and early adulthood are spent trying to control the uncontrollable. Maturing is understanding what can be controlled and then figuring out the best way to control it.
What are you worrying about right now that you can’t control?
Why am I doing all of this? Most of the things we do are for others. You might think you’re going to the gym for yourself, but you might actually be going to impress others with your amazing physique.
How much are you actually doing for yourself? How many things do you do only because others are watching? Would you drive a luxury car if no one would ever know about it?
Are your goals about satisfying yourself or impressing others? Are you only trying to live up to the expectations of others?
What is most important to me? We spend too much time on frivolous activities, largely because we haven’t defined our priorities. What is most important to you?
If you could only have one career for the rest of your life, what would it be?
If you could only be with one person for the rest of your life, what characteristics would that person possess?
What are the three places you’d most like to visit?
What are the three things you’d most like to accomplish?
What are you going to make a priority in your life?
Consider the questions you ask yourself on a regular basis. In one form or another, most people are asking themselves, “How can I distract myself until…” By asking yourself more effective questions, you’ll get the answers you need to put your personal development into overdrive.
When the Power of Attorney (POA) documents are in place for your loved one, it is really wise to make several ‘validated’ copies and scan them for future use. This document becomes extremely important as the years go by. You will need to send it to government departments, insurance companies, and banking institutions so that you can act on your loved ones behalf. Without the POA on file, you will not be able to request, change, or update information. Be proactive as it will save a lot of time and frustration.
Working through grief and loss, it is importance to maintain our physical health but mental and emotional health are just as critical. Exercise prevention whenever possible. Mental and emotional health issues can be very debilitating and challenging to treat.
Place a premium on your mental and emotional well being:
1. Spend time with others socially. Your mental and emotional health won’t be optimal if you split all of your time between work and home. Spend some time in the company of others. Wednesday afternoon staff meetings don’t count! Humans are social beings and social interaction is a component of good mental health.
2. Train your brain. Keep your brain active and healthy. Buy a book of crossword puzzles or brainteasers. Play chess or learn a musical instrument. One of the best ways to preserve your brain health is to challenge it each day.
3. Take time for yourself. Between work, family, and maintaining a home, it can be challenging to find personal time. Nevertheless, spend a little time each day doing something that you enjoy. Even if it’s just sitting alone on your deck with a cup of coffee in the morning. Social activity is important. A little solitude is important, too.
4. Spend time with positive people. Your thoughts, attitudes, and expectations mirror those of the people around you. By spending time with positive people, you’ll be more positive, too. Whom do you spend time with now
5. Find a job that you enjoy. Besides sleep, you spend more time working than you do on any other single activity. If your job makes you miserable, your emotional health is sure to suffer. Money isn’t everything. Consider finding a career that you enjoy. You’ll be happier and more positive about the future.
6. Share your time and yourself with your community. This is also a great social activity. You feel better about yourself and increase your sense of self-worth when you help others. There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer. Investigate a few and make a decision.
7. Spend more time doing things you love to do. What makes you happy? Spend more time doing it. Do you love golf? Build a weekly round of golf into your schedule. How can you not be happier if you spend more time doing things that make you happy?
8. Get sufficient sleep. Sleep is necessary for good health, both physical and mental. Those that lose the ability to sleep due to accident or illness die within several weeks. Your ability to manage stress, make smart decisions, and regulate your emotions are dependent on getting enough sleep.
9. Have a compelling future. For your emotional health to be at its best, you need something to look forward to. It might be a date on Saturday night, a vacation, or retiring. It doesn’t matter what it is, but you need something in the future that makes you smile when you think of it.
Give you mental health as much attention as you do your physical health. Strive to live a well-rounded life filled with enjoyable activities and people. Get enough sleep and find constructive ways to deal with stress. With good mental health, you’ll be able to handle any challenge that life throws at you.
Remember to get professional help if you’re unable to maintain good mental health. You wouldn’t attempt to treat a physical disease by yourself. Put as much importance on your mental health. Avail yourself of expert assistance if necessary.
There are some people that have no trouble sharing their feelings. They are devoid of the fear and anxiety that most of us feel about sharing something personal or potentially controversial. Down deep, you’re jealous of these people. Openness provides a level of freedom that eludes those that are more private. It’s important to be able to share your feelings and concerns openly.
Your concerns can’t be addressed if you’re unwilling to share them. You have to face your challenges alone if you keep them to yourself.
Share your feelings and enjoy the resulting freedom it provides:
1. Be more accepting of others. It sounds counterintuitive, but if you’re afraid to share your feelings, you may be judgmental of others. Naturally, you would expect others to judge you, too. It’s impossible to accurately judge others. There’s always more going on than you realize. Be accepting of others and you’ll expect others to be accepting of you.
2. Start small. Share something small, but relevant. Once you see that you can share your feelings without negative repercussions, you’ll be more likely to share them again.
3. Determine the source of your fear. You may fear judging, rejection, ridicule, or embarrassment. Perhaps attacking that fear is the first logical step to lessening your anxiety around sharing and openness.
4. Be brave. There’s no way to be 100% comfortable about sharing your feelings until you’ve done it several times. There’s a certain amount of courage required at the beginning. Be brave enough to share your feelings. It becomes easier over time.
5. Encourage others to share their feelings with you. You might feel more comfortable if your conversation partner goes first.
6. Stay in the present moment. You generate feelings of fear by worrying about the possible outcomes. Stay in the moment, and your fear will dissipate. Avoid imagining the worst possible outcome.
7. Calibrate the other person. Others are often careless when they believe something doesn’t matter. You’ll find that others are more empathetic and understanding if you let them know that something is important to you. It can be as simple as, “I want to tell you about something that’s important to me.” Put others in the proper state of mind before you share.
8. Be honest. The willingness to make yourself vulnerable will enhance your results. If you’re sharing something that displeases you about the other person, it’s important to empathize first. Sharing your feelings requires consideration of the other person’s feelings, too.
9. Take a deep breath and just do it. The anticipation is usually worse than the actual event. Sometimes, you just have to go for it. You can do it. Focus on how much better you’ll feel afterwards.
Change isn’t easy. Sharing can be scary, but the benefits outweigh the anxiety experienced. In time, you’ll learn to share your feelings and worries more easily. It just takes practice. Focus on the benefits you’ll receive and let the words flow. The other person will appreciate your effort and you’ll find that you get what you want more often.