Judging from movies, TV commercials and the lyrics to popular carols, there’s no happier time than the holidays. The season is filled with nonstop cheer as people attend parties, create wonderful memories, and experience a generosity of spirit and goodwill that exists no other time of year.
However, some experts—and many caregivers—paint a different picture. While it’s definitely a joyful time of year, it is not unusual for caregivers to experience a bout of the holiday blues.
Family Caregivers are Especially Vulnerable to the Holiday Blues
Family caregivers are already some of America’s overworked people. For those who care for a spouse or a partner, an average of almost 45 hours per week is spent providing unpaid care. That’s the equivalent of a full-time job!
The work they perform is vital but it can cause caregivers to feel overwhelmed with their daily responsibilities. When the holiday season starts up and those responsibilities multiply, the added stress can cause anxiety or depression… otherwise known as ‘the holiday blues’.
Tips for Avoiding the Holiday Blues
If you’re a family caregiver, you’ll be glad to know that there are ways to reduce the chances of feeling down during the holiday season. Here are five steps you can take.
- Acknowledge Your Emotions
First, you can’t combat the holiday blues if you’re not mindful of your own emotions. Family caregivers may experience a range of feelings during the holidays, including sadness, fear and frustration. Be open and honest with yourself and admit the emotions you’re feeling.
- Know the Signs of Caregiver Burnout
As a family caregiver, you’re already giving much of yourself to your role. During the holidays, you’re apt to try and give even more—cooking, entertaining, and shopping. Don’t let the stress build to a point where you become vulnerable to burnout. The signs include low energy, emotional and physical exhaustion, or a feeling of mental ‘numbness.’
- Make Time for Yourself
No matter how hectic your schedule becomes, try and carve out some time for a bit of light to moderate physical exercise. Yoga, walking, dancing, or anything that gets your heart rate up just a bit will improve your mood and reduce stress levels. If you’re starting a new exercise routine, be sure and check with your doctor first.
- Stay in the Moment
One way to stay balanced is to keep your mind in the moment.
Concentrate on the task at hand and try not to let your mind wander. Stay positive and focus on all that you’re able to accomplish, letting go of what you can’t control or are unable to do.
- Find Your Stress Reliever
Each of us has our own way of relieving stress. Only you know what works for you, so find your stress busters and use them.
Heritage Senior Communities Supports Caregivers All Year ‘Round
Many people feel blue during the holidays, but family caregivers are especially in need of support this time of year. One final tip is to ask for help. From the online resources we provide to respite care services designed to give families a break, there are a number of ways we stand behind caregivers like you.
If you’d like to learn more about short-term stays or respite care, please call us today.