Caregiver Survival Tip #3
Spiff up your appearance

lips_kiss_imprint_1600_clr_10951For years Alex and I had a running debate about what motivated women when they purchased clothing. When I said I thought women dressed for men, Alex laughed out loud and said, “You are so wrong! Women dress for other women.”

When he couldn’t remember women who we’d met at various functions when I mentioned their names, I always tried to help him recall who they were by describing what they’d been wearing. After going through this numerous times, I began to suspect he might be right.

Then one day a few years ago when we were attending a conference, an exquisitely dressed woman got on the elevator with us. I complimented her on her outfit, and she complimented me on my necklace. When Alex made a lighthearted comment about women dressing for other women, she shot him a withering look and said, “I don’t dress for men or for other women. I dress to please myself.”

That was a huge “Ah-ha” moment for me. I knew she was right, and I really admired her for having the self-awareness to know it and for also having the confidence to say it.

When we are caring for someone who requires a lot of our attention, we spend a great deal of time at home. It’s easy to become complacent about our appearance when we think we won’t be leaving the house or seeing anyone all day.

That elegant woman on the elevator taught me that keeping up our appearance isn’t something we need to do for others. It’s something we need to do to feel good about ourselves. My 86 year-old cousin Laurie once told me, “The day we stop putting on our lipstick and our eyebrows, they might as well dig a hole, because we’ll done living.” I think she was right.

Today I’d like to encourage you to pay attention to how you are caring for your body. It takes a little effort and money to keep our hair cut and colored and to care for our skin, but I suspect if you will invest a little time in keeping up your appearance, you will feel better about yourself. The boost of energy and self-confidence that comes with knowing you look good may just help you be a little more patient, kind and tolerant of the needs of your care receiver.