Top Tips for Surviving almost anything

Late last year, I received a few ‘top tips’ from the University of South Australia (sent to students for surviving exams), and I’ve modified them to apply them to life in general, and especially to living with dementia, or supporting someone with dementia. Feel free to add to them, suggest alternatives that may be better options, or even dispute them. That is, for me, the real joy of this global conversation.

  1. Remember you are a human, not a robot. You need breaks. Evidence supports 15 minutes every 50 minutes.
  2. Study. Work. Play. Relax. Sleep. Repeat. You need to recharge your battery, don’t feel guilty about it. It’s actually clever and will make you more effective and save you time.
  3. Get away from the screen often, including TV, and especially social media.
  4. Turn your phone and all devices to flight mode from 8pm a the latest. Switching off from all screens, including social media at a set time every night improves sleep; there is evidence it does, and I have tried it. When I actually do it, it works!!
  5. Connect to humans, eat real food, find someone to laugh with, run up the hill, play with your dog or cat. YouTube and memes are not ideal.
  6. Sleep (again). Really.  Evidence shows sleeping after studying is like saving your working file on your computer. It backs up your memory and puts it in your hard drive. Be smart. Sleep. Refer to read point 4 again.
  7. Set realistic goals. Now. Sometimes life happens.
  8. Stop beating yourself up. It is unhelpful, so is making an unrealistic plan.
  9. Focus on what you (and we) can do.
  10. Remember it’s not forever. In the case of dementia, we will likely die before you, and you will be relieved of the ‘burden’. Freedom is on the horizon! I’m only saying this, as so many of the comments by care partners and families on social media definitely encourage the feeling of being a burden.
  11. Reach out. It’s normal to feel some stress. It’s not normal for that to feel excessive or continue long term. Reach out to friends, family, or if they have disappeared, to support services including Counselling if you are feeling overwhelmed.
  12. Remember, you are doing your best.
  13. Love yourself.

8 thoughts on “Top Tips for Surviving almost anything

  1. Bless you Kate – just what I needed to hear this morning as I approach final analyses and write more towards PhD thesis. Re No. 10, all that matters is the first 4 words (including the contraction of two words!!).

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    • I’m glad Janet… please send this blog to me, in about 2 years! I’m sure I’ll be needing to read it again then! I look forward to reading your thesis too! Good luck on the final straight. xx

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  2. Thanks Old Boiler, you sure you can’t read minds🤔??!
    All that you have written today is relevant to me right now as I prepare to commence study while working and still live a life. Dad moved in with us a week ago so we can support him with chemo while his partner is OS. It’s a funny feeling when you haven’t lived with your parents for nearly 40 years and the roles and responsibilities are reversed. Im calling it a learning curve🤣. Someone at a conference the other day what I did for a job? Probably not a suitable question for an old boiler on a bad hair day😱My reply was I juggle fire and dynamite and occasionally dabble in fire eating, end of conversation 🤣 You will be pleased to know sensible daughter is keeping things in prospective while she is home. One of the old boilers did remind me that even thou I might think I’m super woman clearly I’m not as my cape was tucked in my undies. God bless her for dropping off some tea that night. Like you said accept help it’s good for others to be part of this crazy ride we call life. It’s ok to sometimes say just stop this roller coaster ride for a minute I need to get off! Involve others, let them in give them opportunities to be active participants. After all most of the great super heroes had a side kick that always came to the rescue in the nick of time. Thanks again for your words Kate I smiled as I read them, truly believe you are psychic, much love Ness 😘

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  3. Recently had episodes of delirium after increased chronic spinal pain.
    Because I was a survivor of stroke, I’m told by family I’ll be too much to cope with. Devastated 😞

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