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Make Every Day Special

Make Every Day Special

Posted by CentralAB on Dec 21, 2019 5:53 pm

Make Every Day Special: It IS About You

I think most Primary Caregivers can relate to feeling like they are "stuck in a rut," and struggling to "stay sane," or keep up with everything, while often having to dismiss things they need to do for themselves.

I thought I would start this topic for caregivers who are interested, to just do a little brainstorming, on ideas to remedy what Ill call "care-givers syndrome." I like to think I have learned a few helpful "tricks of the trade;" but Ill also confess that it doesn't always work out the way i would hope.

I cannot remember who said it, but they said:

"the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step..."

The title of this topic says it all. Its one of my main strategies for caregiver "survival."

The process of goal-setting, planning, and making it happen so that we can make something special out of each day is a good way to hit your "reset button" and inject a little bit of meaning and hope into what are often hopeless days.

Each day I try to come up with one way to make it special. Sometimes it can be something special for my wife, sometimes, it can be for me. Making something special, every day, no matter how small, or for who, is bound to hit your "reset button" too.

Recognition is one thing that can build something special into your day. Keep a journal, jot down each day, one thing that deserves recognition. Call it a Gratitude Journal. It can be about yourself, or the person you are caring for. Or about spiritual things.

For example, it is really hard to get my wife to eat these days. Ill give her a plate of her favorite things, and she may only eat a quarter of it. I always give her some kind of recognition and congratulate her for eating what she could manage. I can actually see some lights go on when I do that, and her eyes light up, and she expresses appreciation for being recognized and affirmed. Her little bit is a lot for her, and she deserves the kind of recognition that will give more meaning to her days, and her efforts; and even for those days when she cant make any effort. There is always something special in every day that we can "unlock" when we put ourselves in their shoes.

Yesterday, the special thing I did was to put up some really cool little LED lights to add a little light and holiday atmosphere. I sat with her for a few minutes, and we admired the display together. There is actually a verse that says "despise not the day of small beginnings."
I am learning to expect that opportunity will often be seen/experienced in the little things of life; I might think that possibility is impossibility; and that there is always potential where I only see disasters and failures.

Today's special thing is going to be for me. I am waiting for a chance to go out and fiddle with my wood working. When she sleeps, I play. 😀 (or sometimes I sleep too) But today, I have a "play-date" for myself.

When it comes to doing something special; it actually IS about you.

Have you got any ideas about how  to make it special?

Please, share.

Re: Make Every Day Special

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Dec 22, 2019 9:26 am

CentralAB‍ - what a great topic! Thank you for starting this one!

That “play date” you mention in your post is described in Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way as an “Artist’s Date.” Her summary of these “events” is “playtime for the right brain.” My description of them is a way to balance our life by doing right brain activity for a left brained world. 

Particularly in caregiving, our “left brains” are challenged all the time - analyzing the needs of our “patient,” puzzling out the mystery of various symptoms, and going over checklists and appointment schedules. Taking some time to give the old left brain a break AND exercise some creative grey matter is a very good idea.

For me, this creative passion usually falls into either stitching - embroidery or needlework - or knitting. For others, it might be baking or cake decorating.  

One of the theories laid out in Ms. Cameron’s book is that “shutting down” the left brain for a while to focus on right brained activities (or mundane tasks, like weeding a garden or doing dishes), can free-up our analytical side to subconsciously reach a solution. How many times has a good idea to solve a problem at work popped into your head when you’re standing in the shower? One of the exercises in her book is to recall your favourite toy from your childhood, then seek it out and use it. It got me to go and find a Spirograph set at Value Village! 

I created my first gratitude journal in 1995, after a separation and an Oprah show. I still have one, but I don’t put entries in it every day. One of my FB friends started a series of posts called “100 happy days”, and she kept it going for about 3 years, and I use FB to put up an occasional post that begins with “Today I am grateful for...”

Positive feedback is always good, too. I’ve told my Dad just recently how proud I am of him for taking steps to deal with a problem that he was seeing as more severe than I was, (in part, because I don’t live with him and couldn’t see the symptoms escalating.) We can use positive feedback on ourselves, too.

Human nature tends to run on the negative side, particularly when it comes to self-talk. So many children grow up with negative comments. Parents mean well - they just want their kids to do well - but, if this form of guidance is overly negative, children internalize those comments, and it can take years to turn them into positive thinkers. In my marriage, nothing I ever did was right, from how I vacuumed the floors to how I did the dishes. For years after, I wouldn’t have people to my home because of those comments, and it was, in part, The Artist’s Way that showed me that those years of negative comments programmed me to doubt my housekeeping abilities that way. Once I was able to turn that negativity around in my own head, I was able to invite people in once more. Since that experience, I’ve become quite an advocate for being kind to one’s self, and finding something positive about that person every day. This is as important as the gratitude journal - maybe more so. Every morning I smile at the person in the mirror and wish her a good day.

As you put it, Make every day special: it IS about you.

Thank you, again.
“When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” - Japanese saying

Re: Make Every Day Special

Posted by Lacey_adminCCS on Dec 22, 2019 11:00 am

CentralAB‍ - Thank you for this beautiful post 😊

Re: Make Every Day Special

Posted by CentralAB on Dec 22, 2019 12:15 pm

Lacey_adminCCS:
CentralAB‍ - Thank you for this beautiful post 😊

 
Thank you. Its a subject thats close to my heart. But im just getting started. I realized that there are a lot of things I have been doing in this subject area that would be worth sharing. I am sure most caregivers will recognize some of these things too. I am looking forward to also hearing from others. TBC 😀

Re: Make Every Day Special

Posted by CentralAB on Dec 22, 2019 12:18 pm

Cynthia Mac:
CentralAB‍ - what a great topic! Thank you for starting this one!

Human nature tends to run on the negative side, particularly when it comes to self-talk. So many children grow up with negative comments. Parents mean well - they just want their kids to do well - but, if this form of guidance is overly negative, children internalize those comments, and it can take years to turn them into positive thinkers. In my marriage, nothing I ever did was right, from how I vacuumed the floors to how I did the dishes. For years after, I wouldn’t have people to my home because of those comments, and it was, in part, The Artist’s Way that showed me that those years of negative comments programmed me to doubt my housekeeping abilities that way. Once I was able to turn that negativity around in my own head, I was able to invite people in once more. Since that experience, I’ve become quite an advocate for being kind to one’s self, and finding something positive about that person every day. This is as important as the gratitude journal - maybe more so. Every morning I smile at the person in the mirror and wish her a good day.

As you put it, Make every day special: it IS about you.

Thank you, again.

 
Thank you for sharing all this! Wow, what a great legacy re the gratitude journals! I know a fellow who has a gratitude journal, and three years ago he had 50, 000 entries!

Re: Make Every Day Special

Posted by CentralAB on Jan 4, 2020 9:34 pm

I made today special, by buying flowers for my wife. We had a little fun, at my expense. I buy her flowers regularly, whenever I see something that looks colorful and bright. But the fun started when I was photographing these flowers. I finally had to admit that half the reason I buy them is for me, so I can practice my photography. Because of the cancer, my wife can't really see them, but she sweetly listens to me going on about how nice they look. We had a good chuckle together as we discussed who I "really" buy them for.  Yes, sometimes I buy them for myself. And that makes the day special too. 😀

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Re: Make Every Day Special

Posted by Rayline on Jan 5, 2020 12:53 am

That is a lovely photo! You keep buying those flowers you deserve them!🌸🌼🌻

Re: Make Every Day Special

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Jan 5, 2020 9:37 am

CentralAB‍ , and didn’t you bring a shot of colour to each of our day!

Isn’t it great that we have had the opportunity to be photographers in this digital age!
“When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” - Japanese saying

Re: Make Every Day Special

Posted by CentralAB on Jan 11, 2020 3:05 pm

Well, I made today special by buying (more) flowers "for my wife."  I thought maybe I could double their mileage by posting here to brighten up your day. Its actually quite amazing how a bright dash of color from mother nature can cheer up a room:

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Re: Make Every Day Special

Posted by SpeedyStill on Jan 11, 2020 6:04 pm

CentralAB‍ 
I am not a caregiver but I feel good reading the posts in your discussion.
Great topic and I wish I had of bought more flowers for my wife for no reason other than to help her feel special.
You are a special person with a big heart.
Please keep sharing
SpeedyStill 

Re: Make Every Day Special

Posted by Whitelilies on Jan 12, 2020 1:37 pm

CentralAB‍ Thank you so much......this beautiful flower MADE MY DAY....
I felt immersed in nature.

Whitelilies

Re: Make Every Day Special

Posted by CentralAB on Jan 13, 2020 11:35 am

Whitelilies:
CentralAB‍ Thank you so much......this beautiful flower MADE MY DAY....
I felt immersed in nature.

Whitelilies

 
You are all welcome. This morning even as cold as it is outside, we woke up to a double blessing so its already a special day here.

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Re: Make Every Day Special

Posted by CentralAB on Jan 15, 2020 10:34 pm

Today's special event was a tasty, coloful meal. Instead of battling with the loss of appetite and dry mouth from meds, etc I am finding that if I make a very small serving, just once a day, arrange it nicely on a plate, and make sure theres lots of color and contrast, that it really does contribute to making at least a special moment, if not a special day. When someone has cancer, the foods need to be moist, as in some kind of sauce or dip etc. The proof was "in the pudding." When she saw this plate, she let out with an enthusiastic: "Wow! Look at that!" That right there was our special moment for today. She only ate the strawberry, and one or two mouthfuls, but thanked me several times for the "delicious meal." So its not always about "making sure they eat enough." 😀

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We even struck up a deal that she first eats what she can and then I eat the rest! Then she is happy, and I don't feel like food is being "wasted."

Re: Make Every Day Special

Posted by Brighty on Jan 15, 2020 10:39 pm

CentralAB‍  wow!  That looks fantastic!  You are just such a gem of a guy........she's so lucky to have such a caring and loving husband.    
Help is out there. All you have to do is reach out.

Re: Make Every Day Special

Posted by Whitelilies on Jan 16, 2020 3:29 pm

This sure beats Organic Rice Krispies with Almond Beverage!

Looks YUMMY !

Enjoy !

Lillian

Re: Make Every Day Special

Posted by CentralAB on Jan 21, 2020 8:06 pm

Cynthia Mac:
CentralAB‍ - what a great topic! Thank you for starting this one!

That “play date” you mention in your post is described in Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way as an “Artist’s Date.” Her summary of these “events” is “playtime for the right brain.” My description of them is a way to balance our life by doing right brain activity for a left brained world. 

Particularly in caregiving, our “left brains” are challenged all the time - analyzing the needs of our “patient,” puzzling out the mystery of various symptoms, and going over checklists and appointment schedules. Taking some time to give the old left brain a break AND exercise some creative grey matter is a very good idea.

For me, this creative passion usually falls into either stitching - embroidery or needlework - or knitting. For others, it might be baking or cake decorating.  

One of the theories laid out in Ms. Cameron’s book is that “shutting down” the left brain for a while to focus on right brained activities (or mundane tasks, like weeding a garden or doing dishes), can free-up our analytical side to subconsciously reach a solution. How many times has a good idea to solve a problem at work popped into your head when you’re standing in the shower? One of the exercises in her book is to recall your favourite toy from your childhood, then seek it out and use it. It got me to go and find a Spirograph set at Value Village!

 
Hello Cynthia Mac‍  Just letting you know I am getting this book tonight from Amazon! Its only $16.00. I used to really love those Spirographs! What Id really love to find is "Etcha-Sketch." lol IDK if there would be any left somewhere in the world or not?  But I do like the ideas in the book description and your post on this, so I might have to start a separate topic about that once I get going! Thank you!

Re: Make Every Day Special

Posted by a3a on Jan 22, 2020 12:22 pm

Your post is so sensitive and thoughtful--I loved the "day of small beginnings" quote. I was diagnosed with cancer in November, and because every second person I knew had a wicked cold, decided to hibernate at home so I would be healthy for my surgery in early January.  The little things made such a difference.  A friend sent some fuzzy socks, another a couple of books. My husband made some of my favourite meals, I watched lovely British TV shows on Britbox and Acorn. We went for a drive to see the Christmas lights. In our busy lives, we often lose sight of these small beginnings which are so precious.  Thank you for sharing that--I will continue to make every day special!

Re: Make Every Day Special

Posted by CentralAB on Jan 22, 2020 1:51 pm

Yesterday was quite the adventure! While it did eventually make the day special, it was a learning curve to be sure. I learned how to color hair, and I colored my wife's hair to the same color she had when we first met. In our case, the real trick to getting it done was just waiting for the right moment when she would be able to tolerate the whole thing. Here is a picture of the finished "product."

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Re: Make Every Day Special

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Jan 22, 2020 3:55 pm

CentralAB‍ , good for you on both counts! That’s a beautiful ash brown you wife is sporting!

I’m glad you’ve purchased the book - it’s an excellent resource for self care - huh. I never really thought about it that way until now, but it is so.  I saw little tiny Etch-a-sketches in a book shop just before Christmas, so I’m sure they still make the full-size ones. Have fun! I’ll PM you more about The Artist’s Way and I have strong, favourable opinions about it, and I don’t want to go all “testimonial” here.

a3a‍ , those are some great tips for pampering ourselves, and I hope it will encourage others to chime in with their thoughts! What kind of “old time” activities did we do that, given the chance to slow down, we would go and do again? Fondue? Progressive dinners? (Hmm. I seem to be thinking about food) What about walks in the forest (my pick!) or sitting by the lake, watching the boats go by?
“When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” - Japanese saying

Re: Make Every Day Special

Posted by CentralAB on Feb 13, 2020 12:15 am

Sometimes I have fallen into the trap of thinking that if my loved one is "this sick" there is nothing special to make of the day. I think it happens to most of us. Right now my wife cannot see; but I didnt let that stop me from buying her a flower. She really enjoyed the smell and the touch, and of course my excited chattering as I gave her the play by play of how I was photographing it. It was truly a few special moments today.

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Re: Make Every Day Special

Posted by Elsie13 on Feb 14, 2020 6:02 pm

What a wonderful idea, CentralAB‍ . Many roses have such a lovely, delicate scent.  Thanks for all the beautiful photos you've posted. 
In 2016: diagnosed with stage 2 ovarian cancer. Treatment: hysterectomy, chemo, radiation. Afterwards: No Evidence of Disease!

Re: Make Every Day Special

Posted by a3a on Feb 15, 2020 7:52 pm

That is a beautiful rose--and a very special gesture. I wish everyone had a partner and caregiver as thoughtful as you are.