Caregivers Dealing With Holiday Stress
For many people, the holiday season serves as a recurring source of stress. The frenzy of decorating, buying gifts, cooking and preparing the house for visitors leaves many would-be revelers eager for January to arrive.
For individuals who care for loved ones or friends, the holiday season can ratchet up the stress level even higher. If you are a part-time or full-time caregiver, consider these tips to keep holiday stress to a minimum this year.
Take Time to Plan
Before the holidays arrive, set aside some time to list the major events coming up. If you’ll be preparing a meal for a large crowd over Thanksgiving, for example, plan to cook and freeze as much as possible beforehand.
If you’re expecting visitors for long stretches of the holidays, plan to delegate some responsibilities to them.
Keep it Simple
Whatever activities or events you’re planning, try to keep them as simple as possible. Instead of 20 different dishes for Thanksgiving dinner, why not stick to five or six? Consider making the main dish yourself and purchasing side dishes from a local restaurant or market. Alternatively, plan your meal as a potluck, and ask your guests to bring dishes to share.
Remember that the holidays are about spending time with people you love rather than focusing on extravagant gifts or decorations.
Let Go of Guilt
Many caregivers experience guilt as they wonder if they’re doing all they could for their loved one. The holidays can intensify feelings of perfectionism and the need to provide the best memories ever for family members.
Understand that as much as you may want — and work hard — to provide a special holiday for your senior loved one, you cannot control everything. In some cases, a loved one may be in a negative state of mind no matter what you do. To enjoy the holidays yourself, let go of any feelings of guilt.
Many caregivers experience burnout as the result of continuing, elevated stress levels and lack of rest. To continue to provide the best possible care for your loved one, it’s important that you also take care of your own needs.
Recognize the signs of burnout, and be sure to set aside time for yourself as you juggle caregiving with your additional work and family responsibilities during the holidays.
Get Support When You Need it
Caregivers often are selfless individuals who sacrifice their own well-being for the sake of their loved ones. To keep yourself sane and healthy, it’s critical to seek help when you need it. You can turn to friends and family members for a respite, or you can seek care through a community like Edgehill.
By asking for help from time to time, keeping things simple, letting go of guilt, and setting aside some time for yourself, you can cope with holiday stress and start the new year renewed and refreshed.