Caregiving, whether that be for a disabled child, an aging parent, or our spouse or friend, feels like it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. Not sure where that idiom comes from, but I remember feeling very confused some days as to what was the hottest priority—which iron needed to be pulled out of the fire first. Oops, another expression with old-time roots! I might be able to keep this up all day, but—-no!

Maybe it’s time to take a break from the grind. Perhaps it’s time to have a play day! What does that look like to you? Can you take a walk? Share memories of good times? Visit a local park or beach? Fresh air and nature ease our souls. If your care receiver is up in years, memory games can be played on trips to the park or even shopping. My husband and I used to play a game where we tried to remember as many old TV shows as possible. It sounds boring, but it ended up being so funny! Another one was descriptive names for things. Like “highchair” to distinguish it from other chairs, and now it’s a common name. “Fireplace” or “oven mitt.” Again, it sounds boring, but this one is challenging.

Sitting on the porch or in the yard with a tall glass of ice tea or lemonade or whatever you like and reading a book together. Take a stroll through a botanical garden or nicely landscaped neighborhood and identify the flowers together. Whatever it takes, change things up to relax both you and the care receiver. Colors stimulate our minds and help us gain a new enthusiasm for life. Same old/same old can get anyone down!

Look through magazines for a picture and write your own story about what is happening. Together you can build on each other’s thoughts and come up with your own great short story. You could write it down for a great memory! Make the tale funny for some excellent laugh time!

At the end of the day, maybe you didn’t get the bathroom cleaned, or the laundry done, or whatever your list of things done. But look at your care receiver. Are they safe? Did they feel loved? Did you for one day increase both of your quality of life? It was a good day!