Any tricks to keep your mind and heart focused on YOUR life when you go home?

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Hi, everyone, I have been on this site for several years and have gotten great info concerning my 91-year-old mom with dementia. I live about 3 miles away and do about 22 hours a week of care at my mom's. She is doing OK, but I see deterioration. Also, every visit is an adventure as I'm sure many of you know. My question: When you are in this negative atmosphere, how do you flip the switch when you leave to resume your regular life/day/hopefully positive attitude. When I leave, I sometimes feel like the cartoon character literally flooring it down the street. Literally like an escape. Sometimes I feel like I figuratively have to take a shower to wash away the toxicity. Yes, I know all about the things like read, take a bubble bath. I guess I am looking for some kind of quick mental cue or switch that I can use, that takes maybe 30 seconds, and that allows me to go food shopping or exercise or whatever in my normally positive framework.


A friend of mine, who worked in a rape crisis center for many years, had a trick where she kept a pair of shoes at work. (I remember them - a pair of black leather penny loafers.) She wore them ONLY at work. As soon as she changed out of those shoes at the end of the work day, she left the job behind with them (the shoes stayed in her office). 

I suppose it was a symbolic switch. But I'd guess there's also a subtly different feeling in your feet, as you go about your business, that might help remind you....or help you forget!
I like the shoe idea! Maybe another "cue" that might help you switch out of caregiving/crisis mode is always turning on a favorite CD in the car as you speed away. Maybe a good driving song like "Born to Be Wild" or "Freeway of Love" or "I Can't Drive 55"? ;)

Also you could look into EFT or "tapping", where you do kind of a brief self-acupressure to shift out of less helpful emotional states. Lots of videos about it on YouTube.

I’ve known about meditation for about twenty years. I learned it as my own health began to go down hill. Meditation can decrease pain by 50%, slow heart rate and lower blood pressure. I can meditate while getting out patient procedures on my back without screaming and being upset! But even meditation fails me when I’m with my parents. So I cry, curse and scream a bit while driving away and then slide into a happier but tired person frame of mind.

It might be my own fragile health but I’m exhausted after even talking on the phone with them so I settle for a quiet mindset and sleep for a couple days. In MY bed and in my house. Only my husband and I and our 15 year old cat live here. No arguing and no anger!!!
These are great comments - thank you all. Love the shoe idea, Dorianne. SnoopyLove, I have heard about tapping. Will check that out. DianaHollis, you are so right. My home is my refuge at the moment. Sometimes after flooring it down the street - :) - I go home, run in the door, slam it behind me, and just say, Thank God I'm home.
2 oz of good vodka over 3 medium ice cubes . Lotsa folks like reefer. I never could handle the stuff.
Similar to the shoe idea. I read a story about a man that every night when he got home from work would stop at the tree along is walkway. When asked what he was doing every night he responded that he was hanging up all the worries and stress of the workday so that once he entered his house he did not bring any of that negativity with him into his home.

Maybe I was fortunate that my mother lived over an hour away and I had the time to decompress in my car on my drive home after spending each weekend with her. I tried to leave early enough so I could maybe stop and see my in-laws along the way or do a little shopping. I varied my route so I could see different things. If I was still in taking care of mom mode when I got closer to home I just drove around a bit more or found a scenic spot to get out of the car and relax with nature for a bit.
I had that problem yesterday after a long day at Mom's followed by a weepy (on her part) phone call about an hour after I got home. I found that immersing myself in a good book helped me put the day behind me and ease into a more peaceful nighttime. I called Mom this morning, and she's actually feeling more optimistic, so it was good that I didn't spend the whole night fretting over her.
All great comments - just looking for that "quick" fix. Windyridge, my drink of choice is a Shock Top or margarita for a quick, guaranteed to work, fix. But I don't want to go down that road big time. Kind of expensive - and bad for the waistline. What I really need to do is drive down the road to LA Fitness. But it is hard to add that one more "to do" (even though beneficial) to the list after getting beat up mentally (and sometimes physically being spent). Love, love the tree idea. Will give it a shot.
I like the tree analogy! Kind of "give it to God" in it's simplicity.
tornadojan, perhaps changing the mind set to "get to" rather than "to do". Now I "get" to go to LA Fitness. Great stress reliever!

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