November is National Family Caregiver Month and we want to recognize YOU, the caregiver. As the days get shorter and holidays approach, getting everything done can seem almost impossible, but we’re here to help you relieve some holiday stress and find time for you.
It is easy to slip into the mindset that the holidays need to be perfect and we put pressure on ourselves to make that happen. You may find yourself so busy caring for your loved one and planning for the holidays that you simply cannot find the time to care for yourself. This can lead to disappointment, possibly anger and frustration, and burnout. There are things you can do to help alleviate some of the stress as well as ways to find time for yourself so you can “recharge your batteries.”
First and foremost, maintain the activities you normally do that help you reduce your stress. Self-care is important when you are a caregiver, especially during the holidays, but respite care can sometimes be hard to find. You can ask friends or family, hire a home healthcare agency or individual, or find an adult day service so your loved one can enjoy fun activities while being cared for. During this “you” time, do what makes you happy, whether that’s going for a walk, reading a book, working on a hobby, or even just taking a nap. Taking a break can help lower stress, anxiety, and fight depression.
When it comes to holidays, we tend to place a lot of value on traditions and equating those traditional activities to a perfect holiday season. This can translate to a lot of additional stress when trying to get it all done. Take the time to identity the traditions that bring you and your loved one the most joy and focus on those. You may even consider starting new traditions that are easier to maintain. For example, if decorating is an extra burden, take a drive around the neighborhood to see the holiday lights.
Don’t forget to ask for help, if you don’t ask, people may not realize you could use a hand. Family and friends will probably ask what gifts they can get for you and this is a great opportunity for you to ask for some help. Think about your loved ones’ talents and how that talent could translate to helping you in your caregiver role. For instance, if one of your siblings loves to cook, ask if they can make meals for you, whether it’s during the holidays or throughout the year. Your sibling can showcase their cooking talents while giving you a break from having to make meals. If there aren’t people in your life you’re close to, you may want to consider hiring someone to help you out. ADRC can help by lending you support and connecting you with resources in the community that may lessen during this busy time of year. Call us at (920) 448-4300.