Thursday, September 30, 2010

Buy Yourself Some Flowers

It would be really great if those who loved us could read our minds. Then, they would know when we needed a pick-me-up and they'd come through with a hug, or a card or flowers. But our closest friends and relatives do not have superpowers and can't read our minds (darn!). Sometimes we need to give ourselves that pick-me-up. That's the whole point of mini-vacations.

That's the whole point of flowers.

Flowers don't cost much. They're free if you raid your own yard or the neighbor's (with permission, of course). I can get a small bouquet of mixed flowers in an array of colors for $5 at my local grocery and I get about a week's worth of colorful pleasure. If you go to your local florist, you may be able to purchase just one rose or daisy or carnation and bring that bit of nature and color into your home.

Then you can take a little time arranging them in a vase, slipping them into a tall glass or just sticking them in a coffee can. Then you can decide where you'd like them displayed.

And all this time you're thinking about how pretty they are and how they brighten the place up. Nice break from other things that are usually on your mind.

Even guys like flowers. I know this because my husband is always pleasantly surprised whenever I bring home a small bunch just for him.

So don't wait for a telepath with mind-reading abilities to come your way. If you need a mini-vacation, pick up some flowers, take a little time with them. Then savor them while they last. Wow! The mini-vacation that keeps on giving. What's not to like?

Blessings on your caregiving day!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Too Much Information

When I was in active caregiver mode, I found a book titled Breathing Space by Jeff Davidson (2007 edition is still available), and found a powerful way to decrease the level of stress in my daily life. I state it as:
Cut Down On the Amount of Information Coming at You.
Before I began caregiving for my Mom, I watched local and national news on TV, I read a local newspaper, two national newspapers and several magazines, and I listened to radio talk shows and spent lots of time on the phone and with e-mail and the Web.

I was Connected!

Then I became a caregiver, and I allowed the pattern of information flow to continue.

I was Connected...and completely overwhelmed.

Breathing Space really helped me look at all the sources of information literally flying at me. I started to detach. I chose one evening TV news program. I stopped listening to the radio shows. I stopped all the magazine subscriptions except one that I truly enjoyed (mini-vacations here). I stopped reading all the newspapers. I got myself off every marketing e-mail list that did not have to do with my caring and limited my e-mail and online time to one-half hour every day. During certain hours of the day, I let all my personal calls go directly to voice mail and only checked messages twice a day.

I finally began to feel that breathing space Jeff Davidson talked about. And saved some money, too.

In our society, there is an unspoken rule that we NEED to be connected to information and people 24/7/365. That's just not true.

Why do you NEED to listen to three news programs, all of which are reporting the dire straits of the world? You're caring for a parent. That can be pretty dire all by itself. At the very least, it's plenty stressful. You don't need to know every detail about the world's stress, too.

Why do you NEED to answer every phone call the moment it arrives? Truth, most calls can go directly to voicemail and you can screen them later.

Become aware of every bit of information around you. Think about how each source of information affects you emotionally, how much time each takes, and whether it's adding any value to your crowded life. If the information stresses you, takes too much time telling you things you already know, and rarely brings you pleasure (only another "have to"), get it out of your life.

Create Information Breathing Space. Ah-h-h.

Blessings on your caregiving day!