Color & Control:

Rock, paper, scissors

Who gets to go first, who does the dishes, or who gets the last popsicle is often decided by a game of chance known as rock paper scissors. Harmless! 

But, if you’re a caregiver who feels like they’re playing a guessing game like this each day perhaps it’s time to look for practical ways to better manage the stress and uncertainty in your life?  

No one can avoid the unexpected. But, according to experts, some of these simple steps can help you better face life’s uncertainties:

Skip the overthinking.
Most of us have a tendency to play out the options in our minds. Nothing wrong with that. But it’s best to avoid dwelling on negative circumstances or worst case outcomes. This type of thinking is particularly stressful at bedtime so try to develop a calm and healthy sleep routine without screentime.

Reflect on your past successes.
Review your experience and look back at what you’ve learned. 

Take your own advice.
Imagining your situation from the outside can often provide perspective and fresh ideas.

Control what you can.
Focus on things you can count on to give you comforting structure.

Take meal breaks.
Eating well during uncertain times can be difficult but, common wisdom suggests meal planning is the best strategy.  If you can, solicit help with grocery shopping and cooking from friends and family. Focus on fresh, local, and healthy as much as possible.

Reduce the bad news.
Limit your exposure to news feeds and phone alerts.  Sure it can be hard to look away but compulsively checking for updates only keeps you wound up. 

Seek out trusted sources.
Having social support goes a long way to helping you cope, so reach out to family, friends and community programs.

And, perhaps most important of all, be kind and patient with yourself. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and stressful situations usually take time to resolve. 

Caroline Tapp-McDougall


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