This is part of a larger discussion I am developing on how to remain human and sane when providing care to others. You can visit that at the top of the main page.
Beyond your Spirit is your mind. Without question, the health of your mind will be the most critical aspect of your life in the process of caring for elderly parents just as much as it is in caring for yourself throughout your life. That effort begins with how healthy your mind is each day.
- How do you think?
- Do you think emotionally or logically?
- What do you think about?
- Are we thinking about things that make us emotional with worry, fear, anxiety, concern, etc.?
- Do we seek to gain within ourselves a confidence and belief in our abilities to successfully resolve and manage the situations with which we are faced?
- Whether you are working or retired, do you balance your life across what you are doing on a daily basis?
- Do you schedule time in a reasonable manner so you are able to separate the time throughout the day for each activity?
- What are you eating and drinking?
The first five questions return to our Spirituality. While we all love and care for our parents on one or more levels, love is an emotion, pure and simple. When we think logically, we are far more capable of using our minds intelligently and responsibly. That thinking and that management helps us to have healthier minds that ultimately help us to be more successful caregivers and remain mature human beings.
But the use of our minds goes beyond just how we think. It includes how we function in our thinking. In particular, it goes to the management of our daily lives and what we do within those 24 hours each day. When we put things off, when we claim that “they can wait”, we are creating pressure for ourselves and those we care for. That pressure leads to stress which leads to all the other emotions which ultimately adversely impact our lives and the lives of those we care for. It is always far better to establish within ourselves – our minds – a willingness and interest in managing each of the events and responsibilities in a mature and adult manner so that each is resolved reasonably and successfully. Such activity strengthens our spirits and minds by confirming within ourselves that we are capable in what we do.
The last question in this group may appear odd in relation to the mind. Many people would initially think this is something to consider in relation to our body. But what you ingest also significantly affects our minds. Consider the contents of the article “Nutritional psychiatry: Your brain on food” Eva Selhub, MD, Harvard Health Blog. But at the same time, we need to be alert to balance our eating habits as they affect us as the chemical factories that we are. Details on this aspect can be found in the article “When ‘Healthy’ Eating Becomes a Health Risk” Patti Verbanas, Rutgers Today.