UP FOR DISCUSSION … As caregivers, I believe a sense of wellbeing is difficult to hold on to. We react to whatever the day brings, but do we often get that overall feeling of general wellbeing once the day settles down? I am reminded that sometimes simple things done frequently can make all the difference – have I done any Hygge today?

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This week has been an interesting collection of events that leaves me wondering whether I am my own worst enemy when it comes to my outlook and general sense of wellbeing in my life.  A friend mentioned in passing this week that as a caregiver she of course knows where her priorities lie, but she also devotes time every day to rebuilding her life.  A new life, for sure, but one she can count on when things get tough.  One that gives her purpose, and hope, and a sense of wellbeing regardless of what the future holds.  New close friendships, new activities, a new definition of a life she knows will bring her comfort, a sense of belonging, and joy when she is ultimately alone.  Her “rebuild” has already started … she is not often left to wonder who she will be or what will matter to her when her caregiver journey ends.  It gave me a lot to think about.

Are we as caregivers putting our futures on hold until after … and after what, exactly?  Are we living in a sort of limbo where nothing is the same as it once was, yet we have put our futures on pause because we aren’t sure what we will want when our lives become more of our own once again?  Do we ignore our own sense of wellbeing to address the wellbeing of others?   I think for me that may be true … planning for the future seems futile because of so many unknowns, and getting through each day is my primary focus.  Building anything new – much less, my life after caregiving – seems on its face impossible!  But certainly, I can address my day-to-day wellness and create a sense of wellbeing by doing things I enjoy.

I am reminded of Hygge … easy to accomplish, purposeful, and something I can do multiple times a day.  Hygge is a Danish term … and it means loosely to create a warm atmosphere of comfort and pleasant experiences in our everyday lives.  Take something ordinary and make it special.  Try something new and then make it a habit.  Something as simple as snuggling up with the new best-seller book, or lighting a scented candle, or calling an old friend can bring a smile, a sense of calm, a moment of joy in an otherwise stressful or ordinary day.  Repotting a plant, brewing a new and interesting tea, or treating yourself to a special dessert can do that too.  Anything that takes your mind off of worry and instead gives you a feeling of personal enjoyment, accomplishment, or peace could fall into the classification of Hygge.  And the result … usually that overall sense of wellbeing – at least for the moment!

My friend was suggesting she puts new people and new activities back into her schedule even though it isn’t always easy and takes time away from caregiving.  Those activities do not yield to anything but emergencies, and they become a sacred part of her routine.  They also are those very things that give her a sense of wellness.  Of relationship.  Of family.  They will likely remain after caregiving because they bring her joy.  But she isn’t waiting for them or thinking about them as a future joy, because she has them now.  They are meaningful now.  They are important now.  And the bottom line – she is important now!

I created a fun planner this week.  It has pictures throughout it of my favorite people, places, and things.  I incorporated only the most important of dates to remember.  The rest of the days are empty.  My plan is to fill it with personal joy … every month, week, or day.  Its cover proudly exclaims its purpose:  Okay, let’s do this …REBUILDING BODY, MIND, SPIRIT! 




UP FOR DISCUSSION:  How about you – have you done any Hygge lately?  Do you ever allow yourself to think about life after caregiving?  Would finding the energy to begin that rebuild now give you a sense of hope and joy?  Please share your comments below.

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