Our Holiday Wish for Caregivers: Take Care of You, Too!
Caregiving is stressful enough at any time of the year but during the holiday season there are many sources of extra pressure and tension. We often remind caregivers of the importance of self-care to maintain well-being during the holidays but accomplishing that with a busy caregiver’s schedule in the midst of holiday activities isn’t easy. Here are some reminders about how to make it happen:
- Ask for help – We often say that a caregiver can do anything but not everything. Can a neighbor pick up some groceries for you? Could a friend or another family member help with gift shopping? Is there someone who can spend some time with your loved one while you go out for a break?
- Acknowledge losses to yourself – For many, the holidays are a sad time. Rather than always keeping a stiff upper lip, allow yourself to feel your loss and share it with someone you are comfortable talking to. Perhaps adopt a new holiday tradition that doesn’t remind you of the loss as much.
- Simplify – This may be the year to do less decorating and less cooking. A few favorite decorations can provide as much beauty and warmth as a roomful. If other guests are joining for some meals, ask them to bring a “potluck” dish or add some take-out or prepared foods to the menu.
- Manage your budget – It is always tempting for generous people to spend more money than they can afford during the holiday season. Stick to your budget to avoid adding financial stress to your worries. Homemade cookies or other handmade gifts are always appreciated and many people love to draw names so that each family or group member only buys one gift.
- Find brief moments to rest and relax – Deep breathing exercises and moments of quiet can go a long way to create calm in your life. Many breathing exercises and relaxation techniques can be found online with a quick search.
- Be festive – What brings a smile to you during the holiday season? Figure out a way within the limitations of being a caregiver to enjoy what is most important to you.
- More tips – We also suggest you take a look at this excellent list from AARP: https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/life-balance/info-2018/holiday-stress-tips.html