It's a new year and that means time for a new beginning. The practice of "turning a new leaf" may seem like a cliche, but it is valuable to caregivers who are beginning to feel burned out. One way to make 2017 better than 2016 is to begin engaging in daily affirmations.

Simply put, this helps you reframe the view with which you look at life. Instead of seeing negatives, you learn to look for positive things. This helps you to be happier, more energized and more effective at providing the care your loved one needs. Here are daily affirmations that may help you feel reenergized in the coming months.

"I am a good person."

Acting as a caregiver can be stressful. Like everyone else, when you are stressed you may say and do things you later regret. When this happens, don't give in to the temptation to fill your life with self-recrimination. Instead, tell yourself how good you are!

By reminding yourself that you are a good person, you are better able to forgive yourself when you make a mistake. Remember you are good and that good people also occasionally do things they wish they hadn't.

"I am in control of my feelings."

When you are in a crisis, it is easy to feel helpless. This is especially true when you are acting as a caregiver and things occur that are simply unavoidable.

In these situations, you do control your own response and feelings about the situation. You do not need to allow fear or stress to drive you. You do not need to let negative emotions dictate how you act. Perhaps most importantly, you do not need to allow the outward situation to determine how happy you are with yourself and your life in general.

"I have people who love and care for me."

Being a caregiver--especially if is a full-time occupation--can be a lonely job. It is easy to feel isolated and forgotten, and these feelings may lead to discouragement, depression, and burnout. It is important to remember that you do have people who care about you and about how you are doing, how you feel, and what your thoughts and wishes are.

Regularly remind yourself of this.You will find it helps you to stave off feelings of loneliness and depression. What's more, you will begin to reach out to your support network more regularly. This, too, is vital because you need to reach out and get help on a regular basis. Caregivers frequently feel that they must shoulder the burden of providing care by themselves, but in most cases that is not true.

Keep in mind that many of your friends and relatives care for you and want to offer help. Reach out and ask them. When you're tired and need time in a quiet bookstore or coffee shop, ask someone to come over and watch your loved one for a time. Or, if you need help running errands or cooking meals, don't be afraid to call and let someone know. Doing so will help you, and it will help your elderly loved one because you'll be able to provide better care rested and invigorated.

Engage in positive affirmations

Talk of affirmations is well and good, but it doesn't help if you don't know how to apply them. Here's what you can do: Each day, take a few minutes for yourself. Ideally, this will be at the start of the day, but any time can be a good time for self-affirmation.

Go to a quiet place, sit down and clear your thoughts. Don't spend too much time and energy worrying about various things. Instead, sit quietly. Repeat these affirmations out loud to yourself. Do this for 10 or 15 minutes at a time.

Extensive studies have shown the benefits of engaging in positive affirmations to the point that some therapists insist that their clients regularly engage in positive affirmation exercises as part of their treatment regimen.

So, take some time and affirm some positive things. It will change how you view yourself, your surroundings, and life in general. This will help you to be happier and more satisfied and enable you to provide higher levels of care to your elderly loved one.

Sources:

Nistelrooy, I. Self-sacrifice, and self-affirmation within care-giving. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy (Vol. 17, Iss. 4)(Nov. 2014). Available at http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11019-013-9523-z. Last visited December 6, 2016.

Remmen, R.; Verhoeven, V.; Wens, J.; et al. The effect of caregiver support interventions for informal caregivers of community-dwelling frail elderly: a systematic review. International Journal of Integrated Care (Vol. 12)(Aug. 2012). Available at http://ijic.ubiquitypress.com/articles/10.5334/ijic.845/galley/1778/download/. Last visited December 6, 2016.

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