Occasionally, I'm able to get out and go swimming at my local park district pool. There's an aquasize class that follows my lap swim period. So as I'm leaving, the ladies for the class are arriving. When they get there, the locker room is just filled with energy and excitement as the women prepare to hit the pool.
I've had a chance to chat casually with a woman who takes a locker near mine. She has this incredible spirit of joy that just radiates out and spreads to everyone near her. Meeting her has reminded me of how important joy is for living a life well lived. Like me, she cares for her mom, who is older than my mom.
As family caregivers, we often get so focused on maintaining life that we forget to live it. Meeting her reminded me that we have to have enough joy for ourselves in order to have joy. Finding joy on a care journey isn't easy, but then again, few things are. When you're taking a care journey. Having joy adds extra strength to the foundation we need in order to continue caring.
As family caregivers, we need joy to sustain us during those times when the load gets really heavy to carry. Joy begins with those uplifting experiences we had before we became caregivers that help us look for other events to help uplift us as we continue our journeys.
Joy is what helps us look at the difficulties of life and know that they are not permanent events. It helps us understand that you can't know sweet without having tasted bitter.
Finding joy as a caregiver means taking time to include what you like into the care journey.
What makes you smile is as important to the care journey as making sure that your loved one has clean clothes and healthy food. Being aware of what makes you smile is important because it gives you an opportunity to include yourself and what makes you happy and what brings you joy into you doing into those times when you're doing what you have to do.
My encouragement for you this week is to remember what gave you joy so that you can find
joy as you move through your daily routines.
Thank you for reading.
Until next time, Dr. Sheri.
Dr. Sheri L. Yarbrough is an author, caregiver, and founder of Praxis Senior Care-Giving Solutions, a consulting business that provides care-givers with practical and easily implemented strategies that can be tailored to meet their individual care needs.
View Dr. Yarbrough's weekly blog on all things caregiving from a caregiver's perspective.