Adding meaning to your life

Each new year’s dawning seems like a nudge to check one’s
personal compass. Are you headed in the direction you want to be going? Has
life seemed just a frenzied dash through the to-do list? Or maybe your past
year was dominated by feelings of frustration or futility.

Perhaps you yearn for a sense of meaning. You are not alone.
It turns out that a feeling of purposefulness is important to well-being and
the ability to thrive.

Many people think that a life with purpose requires holding
and achieving lofty goals. Not so! We don’t have to aspire to know “the
meaning of life.” We simply need to know the meaning in our life,
very specifically.

New research shows that consciously tying your daily
activities to your personal values results in living with a greater sense of
meaning or purpose.

So, ask yourself: What do I value? How is that reflected
in my daily activities?

Maybe your caregiving tasks this week include taking dad to
the doctor. Perhaps arranging for in-home care and arguing with the insurance
company about reimbursements. Or even cleaning up after a bathroom mishap.
Hardly the stuff of transcendence!

But flip that around. Why do you do these things? The values
behind these mundane, or even frustrating, tasks might be

  • wanting to give back for
    care received in your childhood
  • that families stick
    together and look out for each other
  • a sense of fairness,
    sharing the load so one sibling is not shouldering it all

Now consciously link your activities to your values and use
this technique to support your well-being. In the midst of an unpleasant
caregiving task, remind yourself of its resonance with your personal values.
Holding that thought may help you get through a challenging episode and live
with a greater sense of fulfillment.

Are you feeling bogged down as a family caregiver?
We can help. At Debra Levy Eldercare Associates, we walk this road with families every day. As the Metro DC experts in family caregiving, we can help you carry the load. Give us a call at 301-593-5285. Let’s start the conversation.