Caregivers: Why You Should Make Happiness a Priority

Mindy New Year

Mindy is a typical caregiver, trying to be there for her family. This year she is making time for herself, too.

By Mindy Gorman-Plutzer

Are you, like me, happy the holiday season is behind us? Are you relieved that the stress of spending, planning and sometimes forced merriment is a fleeting memory? Are you looking back on this past year and thinking about what you’d like to do differently?

Can you do so in a way that celebrates all you’ve learned, all you’ve gained and how far you’ve come?

Can you make your own happiness a priority?

Can you ask yourself, “What can I let go of right now that will make room for me to fully taste the abundance in my life while adding to my plate?”

I pose these questions as I look ahead to the coming year. Our inboxes are full of things we can DO in order to look better, feel better, move better, save better, spend better. Very few of these offers take into account that in order to fully embrace change, we must embrace BEING the change. Let me clarify: While there are things we can DO in an effort to put our best selves forward, can we succeed if we don’t put our best selves FIRST?

Decide For Yourself This Year

Let me share how this came up for me. Last November I was invited to apply for an advanced level certification that would be a game changer for my career. There were hundreds of applicants and only 18 would be accepted. A no-brainer? It should have been, but the live classes are Friday afternoons and for the last five years I’ve been spending Fridays with my daughter, welcoming my grandchildren off the school bus and truly enjoying all that is a part of that.

This year, my younger daughter was added to the mix. The plan was for me to see my older daughter’s kids off the bus and to their respective activities and play dates, and then to go off to daughter #2 so she could take her older child to tennis while I spent a glorious hour with my precious 3-year-old grandson.

If I was accepted to the program, I’d have to tell them “Fridays with Mima” would have to be suspended for a few months. I was really nervous to do so. Was it guilt? Fear they would think they are no longer a priority? It was an internal struggle. So I waited until after I applied and was accepted into the program, spilled the beans. Everybody is going to survive. In fact, they are really happy for me.

We are a generation of caregivers. We support our children often longer than we were supported. Many of us have parents we worry about and look after and tragically, we are of the age where we’re faced with health crises of our own or those of a spouse. So often we get lost, our dreams and ambitions are given up on because we fear asking for what could be rightfully ours — the chance to continue to grow, continue to learn, continue to make our mark on the world.

To Be, Not To Do

Instead of creating a “TO-DO” list for the coming year, join me in creating a “TO-BE” list.

Start with these three:

1) Take more deep breaths, cleansing breaths that help you clear internal clutter so you can make room for new found energy. Letting go of clutter means letting go of any attachment to what no longer serves you.

2) Put your heart, mind and spirit into the things you do. Notice the difference between empty fatigue and gratifying exhaustion. Time seems to pass so quickly. Think about your daily activities and question if they are worth investing in. Find ones that are.

3) Know you can self-soothe in ways that aren’t self-defeating or destructive. Re-frame your thoughts to be accepting, non-judgmental and loving to yourself and others. Listen to what those thoughts and beliefs sound like and question where they came from.

Being the change means being free; living the change allows for leaving a legacy. Happy New Year. Happy you.

In addition to being a board-certified health coach and nutritional consultant, Mindy Gorman-Plutzer is a Certified Eating Psychology Coach in Manhattan. She is the author of The Freedom Promise: 7 Steps to Stop Fearing What Food Will Do TO You and Start Embracing What It Can Do FOR You (Balboa Press). For more information, go to Follow her on twitter at @FreedomPromisey



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