Caring for the elderly is much easier when you can maintain a positive attitude.

October is Positive Attitude Month, and that means now is a good time to think about staying positive when caring for your elderly loved one. Obviously, it can be a chore sometimes, especially if you put in a long work day yourself, and have to come home and start caring for a disabled parent in the home, but staying positive will make the whole process seem a lot lighter and brighter, and you'll feel much better about it. Your companion care professionals from around Arlington and elsewhere understand the importance of staying positive during care times, and they recommend that you do your best to keep an upbeat attitude. Here are some of their tips to help keep you in the right frame of mind for caregiving.

Act happy, feel happy

Whenever you're stressed out or having a difficult time with something, the best thing you can do is to force yourself to start smiling. Even when you don't feel like it, smiling has been scientifically proven to start improving your mood almost immediately. But don't stop there – once you start smiling, start using positive descriptions about everything that has happened that day and during the entire week. If need be, talk about how your whole life has been going very well and how you couldn't be happier with it. By thinking happy thoughts and expressing them out loud, you can begin to completely change your outlook on life, and pick up the attitudes of all those people around you as well.

Do something kind

Whenever you do something nice and something kind for someone else, it makes you feel better, and that good feeling carries over for quite a while. There are plenty of ways to do something nice for your elderly loved one especially. For instance, you can read a book to them, listen to favorite music on the radio together, shampoo your mother's hair, or take your parent for a walk around the park. This will be a great benefit to both of you, with your loved one really appreciating the effort that you made, and you feeling very good about having done something that made your parent happy.

Listen to your body

When you're taking care of an elderly loved one, especially when you have a long work day of your own to contend with, you need to be careful not to become burned out during the process of caregiving. That means you need to listen to your body and take a break when it tells you that it's fatigued and requires some downtime. If you're not feeling well yourself, call a friend over or another relative to watch your parent while you get a few hours of rest. If you become burned out on the job, you won't be of much use to your elderly loved one, and you will be hating every minute of the care that you have to provide. By paying attention to your body signals, you'll know when you need a break so that you can continue to provide good care.

Think about your own future

Don't give up thinking about your own future, even while you're taking care of an elderly loved one, and it seems like your future is hopelessly tied to their future. You have career goals and possibilities that are stretched out before you, which you are going to want to take advantage of. Don't let yourself get lost in the grind of being a caregiver, and having that be the sole focus of your existence. A good way to keep your goals in mind is to write them down on paper and periodically revisit them, updating them as needed, so they can be altered with changing circumstances.

Surround yourself with positive people

In order to stay positive yourself, it's always a good idea to surround yourself with positive people. These are people who are supportive and who understand that your caregiving is an important part of your life at the moment. The people who make you feel good about yourself and about your life are the ones that you should be spending time with, rather than those who seem to suck the life out of you and deplete your stores of energy. The people you spend most of your time with have a major influence on how you feel, so it's very important to spend the most time with people who make you feel good about yourself and about your life.

Maintain a gratitude journal

It's very easy to overlook all the good things that are in your life, especially when you lead a very busy life between working at your job and caregiving at home. Instead of allowing the bad things to occupy your attention, remind yourself of all the good things and all the positive events going on in your life by maintaining a gratitude journal. Each day, jot down between three and five things which you are grateful for during that specific day. It can be a very small thing like someone who complimented you on the way you are dressed, or it can be a major thing like you're very grateful that your father and mother are both still alive and both reasonably healthy. Whenever any bad periods come upon you, you can consult this gratitude journal and remind yourself of all the good things that have been happening in your life, and just what it is you have to be grateful about.