Caregiver Harbor Advice

A Chaotic Start is the Best Way to have an Awful Day
Frank Blood

A Chaotic Start is the Best Way to have an Awful Day

How is your day going? Did you get up on time? Did you wonder about what should be done first?  Did you make it to work on time? Did you start calm and focused? Or were you frazzled?

If you are a caregiver and your day is going well, one of two things is likely. Either today is one of your rare lucky days or you follow a morning routine. If this is just a lucky day for you, go ahead and enjoy it. This too shall pass. Tomorrow or the next day will be chaotic again and you’ll be reacting to every disturbance as if it were the first time you had to deal with it.

This isn’t to say that a caregiver with a program, or even a ritual, won’t have to deal with the same time-consuming circumstances you often face. Every caregiver, no matter how organized and prepared, will have days that fall apart as soon as they wake up. Pandemonium happens. We can’t do anything about the situations that come up on a regular basis, but we do have control over the way we respond; which makes all the difference in our mental and emotional well-being.


Constant practice isn’t boring

There is tremendous value in having a routine for the beginning of each day. First of all, it provides a stable environment for care giver and care recipient that greatly reduces anxiety caused by uncertainty. Both know exactly what is happening at the moment and what will happen next. No surprises. Tasks within your usual pattern will certainly differ as the person’s health and mental alertness varies from day to day – but even extra bathroom clean-ups or additional frustrations won’t destroy your schedule.

Working by habit allows you to conserve a lot of energy that would otherwise be needed for recognizing, processing and figuring things out. While you still need to be mentally present, activities are accomplished on power saver mode. Any saving of effort in the morning gives you added stamina for the rest of the day when it is most appreciated. Athletes train by doing the same things the same way thousands of times; it’s one of their best tools for success. That’s how they find the “zone” on their way to the gold.

The whole purpose of a routine is to improve your life; to achieve your goals in the most efficient and effective way. The word comes from the 1670’s French routine which was the usual path or way. No one traveling back then wanted to spend any more time or effort on getting to their destination than absolutely necessary. They didn’t take side trips. When you repeatedly do the same things in sequence every morning, you are getting to where you want to be without any additional discomfort.

A morning discipline that gets low-level things done quickly so you can spend more time on high-level tasks breeds self-confidence. When things go wrong, we often become so critical of ourselves that we start thinking we aren’t good enough to handle caregiving: which is never true. When you have a strong morning routine, each day you are making small deposits into an account that you can withdraw knowledge and strength from during more difficult times. And you’ll be able to get over your minor mishaps much sooner. When you trust yourself to make judgements rightly, know that you have the power to complete things that must be done and believe that you can overcome obstacles as well as any other caregiver, you are giving your loved one the best you have to offer.


Beware of energy sappers

There is a caveat to keep in mind before making decisions about what to include in your routine. Some activities will energize; some will drain you. Be certain to avoid the parasitic ones that will suck the vitality from your soul. Watching TV, reading depressing caregiver posts, talking with anyone who is critical or has nothing of value to offer, or just sitting and thinking about your troubles are sure-fire ways to destroy everything you’re trying to build. You know how to avoid time-wasters and anything that keeps you from your path to success at work. You need to do the same at home.

It is always a good idea to include empowering practices that will benefit you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Many caregivers find that getting up extra early pays huge dividends; especially when they fill that time with high-value things like exercise, inspirational reading, journaling, prayer and meditation. After they first take care of their own needs, only then are they ready to take care of someone else’s needs. You can’t go wrong with their formula.

I believe so much in my system, and have been doing it for so long, that much of it has become ritualistic. That’s not to say there aren’t exceptions. There are many. But there are very few times my day gets derailed. There are moments I get angry at myself and at circumstances but I don’t waste time by staying angry or feeling sorry for myself. Good habits scheduled into a daily calendar and followed whenever possible is the surest way to enthusiastically meet your workday and perform like a champion.  

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1 comments on article "A Chaotic Start is the Best Way to have an Awful Day"

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It would not advance us even a short way toward recovering equalization after the disaster, commonality after chaos. Better rather call things by their genuine names and grapple with known elements; to manage things in the now and look toward a superior future.

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