Hello Dear Caregivers,
We are well on our way to spring here in lovely Florida. Unfortunately, some places (like my home state of Michigan) are seeing the coldest weather of the year. I've spent some time up there recently and in between complaining about the cold and blowing my nose I had some thoughts about why weather can alter our moods.
First, there is the sunshine factor. Point of fact, people are happier when the sun is shining. Clouds, rain, cold and snow all get in the way of the sun. A gloomy day does not inspire one to get out and do. In fact, it makes you want to pull those covers up over your head and go back to sleep. Bad weather can force you to stay inside and limit your exposure to both other people and to the things you enjoy. In my case, shopping, eating out, meeting up with friends all are made more difficult by inclement weather (especially snow).
So then I thought, dealing with bad weather is sort of like caregiving...There are good days and bad days. On the good (sunny days) it is easy to see why you chose to be a caregiver. The one you love and care for is content. They are able to express (if only in their unique way) their appreciation for the care you give. On the sunny days of caregiving you may have a nice conversation and be reminded of the bond you have always had with this person you love. You may even feel validated and inspired to keep going. Hurray for the good weather days!
Unfortunately, many caregivers also face the gloomy days. Things aren't even close to easy on these days. Maybe you don't feel appreciated or even recognized by this person you care for. Maybe you aren't able to see the traits in them that you loved and admired. Possibly there are days when you wish you could go back to bed and let someone else do this very difficult job...
I know a lot of people up north who, unlike me, wear the weather well. They equip themselves to best react when the weather turns bad. Coats, boots, gloves, snow tires get these hearty folks out of the house and into the world. Winter is just another season and they find things to do in spite of the weather. Skiing, snow shoeing, skating, snow ball fights, making snow angels and on and on... I have relatives who even claim that winter is their favorite season!
Caregivers can also gear up for different kinds of weather. Ask for help, take some time off, go to support group, look for the things you can do for yourself, regardless of the weather. Sometimes your sunshine is other people who understand. Figure out the things that help you not only get out of bed, but enjoy the day. Even though none of us can actually control the weather, in small ways, we can control the way it affects us. So...let's get out the gear and always remember that, no matter what the time of year, spring is right around the corner!