The holidays can be a combination of all things joyful and stressful. As we as Caregivers approach the holiday season, it's important to keep in mind that the impending stress can be mitigated by taking certain proactive steps throughout the process.
Step One: Recognize Signs of Burnout
Are you feeling moody, irritable, or anxious? These can be signs that your battery is being drained without sufficiently recharging. If you're feeling this way, jot it down in a journal to keep note of when you're feeling stressed. If you notice a pattern, it's time to take serious action.
Step Two: Acknowledge Your Personal Stressors
It's time to get specific: What is it that causes you stress during this season? Write it out and call it as you see it. Are the expectations of the in-laws causing you grief? Is the load of balancing elaborate gatherings and meals with your caregiving role seeming overwhelming? Whatever it is, just write it out - and be as detailed as possible.
Step Three: Self-Care First
If you break down, the things around you tend to as well, which is why it is important to put your health first and foremost. Schedule your relaxation as much as possible. Make sure you're eating on a routine. Do little, inexpensive things frequently to make each day more enjoyable. For the price of Epsom salt and hot water, you have a foot bath that both relaxes and recharges your mind and body. If you're pressed for ideas, there are plenty online to explore.
Step Four: Connect with Others
Even if you're not the most social person, schedule some regular interaction that you deem enjoyable. It might be going to a movie with a friend, grabbing a cup of coffee and reminiscing, or even having a sit-down with a confidant and discussing grief or loss that you might feel, especially during this season.
Step Five: Plan Ahead
When it comes to regular holiday gatherings and traditions, plan them out as far in advance as possible. Use that free calendar from the bank, or the calendar app in your phone, so that you can truly get a grip on the scope of your responsibilities during the holidays. And don't just plan, especially thinking that you have to fill up any available times. In fact, you should simplify! Cut out things that provide more stress than joy for yourself and loved ones. Don't be afraid to say "no" to an event, and instead allocate that time for recharging your batteries.
Step Six: Hire Help
When caring for your loved ones during the holidays, services are available to supplement your own activity. While you're preparing for gatherings and events, an in-home assisted living service can be there caring for your loved one, being sure they are fed, taking their medications, and comfortable. For the best care available, contact Melva from ACC Adult Home Care at 440.320.3335 today to start your plan for the holiday season.
Melva Sherwood, RN