The value of kindness

Welcome to 2017! There’s something really nice about celebrating one year and starting fresh on the next. Even though there is only one day between last year and this year, suddenly the world seems to open up with endless possibilities. I enjoy thinking about what I want to do differently from one year to the next, and in 2017 I am inspired by the idea of being kind – to yourself as well as others. With this in mind, we recently asked the community for their view on good New Year Resolutions for carers. Here are some of the thoughts we received from NZers supporting loved ones:

Linda says ‘Put yourself first once in a while, and don’t feel guilty…often carers are consumed with caring and trying to please others. Whether it’s family help or outside help to give you a break, make this your 2017 resolution to be kind to yourself.’ Rebecca agreed saying ‘Look after yourself before you can 100% look after others. You are worth it.’ It can be easier to commit to doing one small thing for yourself each day rather than big gestures so perhaps try a daily routine of time-out or something you enjoy. A practical tip is to keep your own appointments. It’s easy to let your own appointment go when something ‘more important’ comes up, but all these things add up. So whether it be a medical appointment or a hair appointment, how about a 2017 resolution to keep it!

I love Rene’s suggestion of chatting with at least one elderly person each day. Human contact is so important for all of us and we can get a lot of support from others. You could consider joining a group and meeting with others in the same situation as yourself. Jainab speaks of the importance of community, ‘Be kind and helpful to others including your neighbourhood volunteers doing community work’. Being part of a community, whether it be a local one or a group with a common interest, whether you meet in person or online, it all helps stay connected to others, sharing and helping each other and feeling part of something.

Denise talks about tuning in to the loved ones you support. She says ‘Be aware of the subtle changes, unspoken responses, and what it means for the people you care for, anniversaries of special or sad moments in their lives.’  Sometimes we have to make time to slow down and allow space for these things to be shared.

Finally, Sue says ‘Be happier, the first time I had that as my goal I had a great year!

At Carers NZ we are celebrating a ‘Year of Wellbeing’ and our January theme has been New Care Resolutions. We hope some of these ideas inspire you to taking care of yourself in 2017. If you would like to have access to more support you may wish to join our enewsletter which goes out regularly and has lots of wonderful resources in it. To join the list, sign up here.