Have you ever had one of those Fridays?

* You’re perusing one of the clothing magazines and discover the PERFECT sweater. You check your bank account – no, there’s not enough money for a “frivolous” purchase.

* Your father, for whom you are the primary caregiver and who seldom eats well, wakes up with a craving for bacon and you remember that you used the last 2 pieces in the spinach salad you made yesterday.

* Your sister calls and says that her child is ill so she won’t be able to stay with Dad for the week-end after all, “but really, I’m sure he’ll be fine by himself”. That puts an end to your week-end get-away with your husband.

*Your neighbor calls and says “something” has just dug up her prize roses…and your dog seems to be eerily absent.

* You hear a gurgling sound coming from the bathroom and discover that Dad has flushed down a Depends (once again) thus clogging up the plumbing. (Obviously he WON’T be fine by himself!)

* You call the plumber, who doesn’t answer! HE must have taken Friday off to go fishing because HE doesn’t have a family member to care for!

What do you do when everything around you seems to be conspiring against you?

1. Stop and count to 10…slowly.

Concentrating on counting will help you to regain your composure long enough so that you don’t do or say something you’ll later regret.

2. Breathe.

Go to a quiet place. Take a deep breath in through your nose; hold it for the count of 3 and then breathe out slowly through pursed lips to the count of 10. Repeat this at least 5 times or until your heart stops racing and a feeling of calm returns.

3. Re-evaluate.

Is there another plumber that you could call (preferably one that doesn’t charge week-end rates on a Friday)? Is there a family friend that does plumbing on the side?

If you can’t get away for the week-end, is there someone you could call who could stay with your loved-one for just the evening so that you and hubby could catch a movie?

Is there some part of the day that you can save? (I don’t know what to tell you about the roses.)

4. Dance.

Turn on the stereo or iPod and dance around the kitchen. Dance with Dad. Dance with the dog (who has now returned). Remember that song “Maniac” from the movie “Flashdance”? Turn on that song and move your feet as fast as they’ll go. It’s an instant mood changer. I watched it on YouTube the other day. (Wow, I forgot how high those leotards used to be in the 80s!)

5. Get out of the house.

Depending upon your circumstances, you could load up your loved one and go for a drive in a pretty area, get some frozen yogurt or a latte’, or even just go out into the garden and pull weeds. The fresh air will be good for both of you and you’ll return in a much better frame of mind.

6. Be grateful.

Yes, I know… I’m working on this myself. Grab a piece of paper and write down all the things for which you are grateful. Sometimes, it might only be that you managed to get out of bed this morning. But that’s a start.

I can’t promise you that tomorrow will be better; I can’t advise you to make lemonade out of lemons, because sometimes, the lemons are just too sour. The only thing that I can tell you is that one day your caregiving role will end, so you must do the best you can do in order to ensure that your memories of caregiving will be good ones.


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