CONGRATULATIONS!!!! You made it to another year without going insane from all the demands of life…well done! So now we’re here…2017…what’s the plan? I know one of the things resting on my mind is what can I do this year to improve my sister’s quality of life. What needs to be done…what is she going to do in the days…activities, classes? Will this be the year that she finds a job? So many thoughts swirling around in my mind. So many worries and it’s just the second day of the year. Obviously, this strategy of worry is not the way to go or else I may not make it to 2018. So, with various persons wishing me a HAPPY NEW YEAR…in my mind, in respect to my life, what makes a new year happy?
Parents/Caregivers…Make Time for Yourself This Year
Guys, before I go any further, first thing’s first. If we do not take care of ourselves, we cannot take care of our loved ones at the level at which we should. When we are constantly beaten down, constantly frustrated, we will end up taking out some of that frustration on our loved ones. It will also cause us to miss opportunities for them as your mind and your thoughts will be regularly engaged with whatever it is that’s frustrating you and since you haven’t taken the time to recharge your batteries, your mind will not be able to spot the not so obvious opportunities out there for your child…that painting class, that dance class, that job opening at the local cafe. So, to make this new year an actual happy one, we need to ensure that we take some time for ourselves and this can mean different things for different people. For me, I love the beach, that’s my happy place. For others, it could mean gardening, travelling to a new country, learning a new skill like pottery or just having the house to yourself for the entire day and you just sleep. Whatever works for you…please ensure that you do it.
Set Goals…You & Your Loved One Sit Down and Decide on These
So what is it that you want your loved one to accomplish for 2017? Job Experience? Well, have you found an employer willing to give them a chance…paid or voluntary? If not, whilst you continue the job search, are there any classes they are interested in taking? Dance, art, cooking, photography? When will these classes start? How long will they last for? If your loved one is doing the cooking class, what is the expected outcome at the end of the classes? Will they be able to prepare breakfast for themselves? Lunch? Dinner? Juices? If they opted for the dance class, what’s the goal? Weight loss? If so, how many pounds? If your loved one wants to be a photographer, is the plan to start a website after they have finished the classes to showcase their work and sell their photos online?
Whatever it is that your loved one wants to accomplish this year, help them by establishing their goals and break down these goals into smaller ones…possibly quarterly goals or even monthly goals, whatever works. Ensure that when you guys “tick off” a goal, you guys celebrate…doesn’t have to be an elaborate expensive celebration. Just keep it simple.
Advocacy or Support Groups
Have you thought about being more active in things relating to Down’s Syndrome? Maybe this is the year for that and this is something both you and your loved one can get involved in. Do you have a local foundation or parents support group that you could join? Possibly you are a member of your local Down Syndrome foundation already, but considering your years of experience, maybe it’s time you took on a leadership role in this institution? Maybe, you have no local support group and you are just the person to start one.
This can prove to be a great way for you and your loved one to meet people and help others. This could be a way for your loved on to make friends and even find a partner (if that’s on the wish list for this year). It’s always good to have the support of persons who can relate to what you are experiencing. HappyDowns will be here to provide whatever support we can to you for 2017, so please share with us your concerns, questions, suggestions. I wish you all the best for 2017 and I do hope it will indeed be your happiest year yet!