A Serenity Prayer for Caregivers…

God, grant me the serenity to:
Accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.


Today I need a serenity prayer. Maybe you do too.

There are things I’ve come to accept. I’ve learned that when I spend my time and energy wishing life would bend to my preferences, I create my path to misery. Some things aren’t going to change anytime soon and they really aren’t mine to change. But then, there are things I need to change and often, that’s where I get stuck.

The things I’ve accepted form a long list, they’re the result of knowing what I cannot change, and trying not to fight the inevitable. Here’s just some of what I’ve accepted:

  • Alzheimer’s (it’s just a disease, but it lives at my house).
  • Retirement, years before I thought I was ready for it.
  • Working only part time, and mostly alone.
  • Confinement (I have roughly 15 hours each week for personal pursuits, while hubby’s in daycare)
  • Needing help (no, I can’t do this alone!), for me that includes sitters & daycare!
  • Life’s finality (hubby’s and mine) – to everything there is a season, and an end; and fortunately, I’m not in charge of that.
A photo of white roses.

However there’s a difference between accepting and settling, and I notice I’ve been settling on a number of fronts where change might be possible if only I had the courage, energy, time, etc.

Here’s my short list of just a few of those arenas where change could be good. . .

  • My clutter – and the procrastination that persists in making the decisions to decrease my debris. There’s just so much stuff I don’t need to keep!
  • My eating habits – while vastly better than in years past (especially during the pandemic!) still not as healthy as I deserve!
  • My commitment to exercise (still, sitting TOO much!) and a reluctance to just get up and move even when the opportunity presents itself!

What’s lacking? Is it wisdom, courage or something else? These changes don’t require anyone else’s permission, or even their participation – I’m in complete control of what enters my home, goes in my mouth and how long I stay in my chair (no one to blame!).  So what is it I need in order to move in the directions I KNOW would be good for me?

I think what’s missing is the Rush of Reward – that dopamine hit that comes when we do something, get something or find something we love.  We feel it when we hit the ball perfectly (in golf, in tennis, even in pickleball). We feel it when the recipe turns out to be marvelous and everyone raves about our dish. We feel it when an outfit comes together and we’re confident knowing that our “look” is totally put together.  The things I want to change – those arenas of lie where change is certainly possible and probably beneficial – don’t come with much reward, at least not an immediate reward.

Deferred gratification was never my strong suit. Sure there’s the satisfaction that comes with seeing the “junk” drawer finally emptied. There’s the relief that the scale is moving in the desired direction or that my jeans fit more loosely when I’ve been making healthier food choices. And there’s the better sleep, increased flexibility and stamina that comes with leaning into exercise. But all these rewards take time – they don’t descend like the sugar rush when we devour the Hershey’s bar.

So where’s the serenity in that?  I think it comes from knowing I have agency. I have the right, the opportunity and the choice to do what’s in my own best interests. No one needs to give me permission or approve of my actions. No one needs to remind me or cajole me to choose wisely. All of it rests in my own hands.  And for that, I need both the wisdom (in the moment of choice) and the courage (in the weakness of preference) to know the difference a wise choice can make.

Wishing you wise choices and the peace of knowing YOU too have agencyyou have choices which could change the direction of your life, just as I do.  May you choose wisely and with amazing outcomes that move your life toward the direction you desire. As always, let me know how I can help!

Self-care is every conscious action you take that feeds your soul, nourishes your body, nurtures your spirit, or replenishes your relationship with yourself!

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About Paula

I help other caregivers – both professionals and family caregivers – acknowledge their pain and learn to practice the many small skills of self-care that can sustain them through the challenges of wholeheartedly caring for others.

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How Can I Help You?

Through Co-Create 4 Life, you will learn a range of well-being strategies from skillfully implementing self-care to holistic approaches to well-being, rebuilding resilience, and battling burnout. Book a free consultation call today to discuss your options.

How Can I Help You?

Through Co-Create 4 Life, you will learn a range of well-being strategies from skillfully implementing self-care to holistic approaches to well-being, rebuilding resilience, and battling burnout. Book a free consultation call today to discuss your options.