Caregiver Survival Tip #2
Indulge in a guilty pleasure

IMG_0801When a caregiver wakes up in the morning and thinks about the day ahead, it is usually not with a sense of anticipation and joy. There can be a lot of monotony in the daily routine, along with a fair amount of drudgery.

That’s why I think it’s important to indulge in something on a regular basis that provides you with a little bit of guilty pleasure. My hairdresser has lost more than 50 pounds. But every Friday after she weighs in at her Weight Watcher meeting, she drives to her favorite coffee shop and orders a large mocha-chino latte. Knowing that she can look forward to this treat each Friday helps her stay on track the rest of the week.

When the weather is bad, or when it’s difficult for me to leave the house, I ride my stationary bicycle. To fend off boredom, I watch programs like “Glee” on my iPad. I peddle like crazy along with the high-energy music, hardly aware that I’m doing something that’s good for me. Alex would never watch these shows. He would think they are silly and frivolous. (He’s right, of course.)

I am aware that I could use my bike-time to catch up on the news or to watch something educational, but I don’t. The music and dancing energizes me and makes me feel happy. After I finished all four seasons of “Glee” I started watching movies like “Grease”, “Hairspray” and “Chicago”. Fun, happy, lighthearted musicals are my guilty pleasure, and I make no apologies for this indulgence.

Today I hope you’ll think about something you can do just for yourself. Giving yourself permission to enjoy a small treat once in a while may help fend off depression. It could also keep you from downing an entire bottle of wine after dinner or attacking a half-gallon of ice cream with a tablespoon in the middle of the night. Go ahead, indulge in a little guilty pleasure. If it make others raise an eyebrow, so be it. You deserve to have a little fun.