Caregivers already have a lot on their plate. The emotional and physical toll of caregiving can be sizable, especially if a senior loved one has dementia. This makes them extra vulnerable to stress when the busy holiday season rolls around. If it’s not managed properly, stress can lead to burnout.
Here are 4 ways to beat caregiver stress during the holidays.
4 Ways to Beat Caregiver Stress During the Holidays
- Understand Where Your Stress Comes From
The first step to beating caregiver stress is to identify where your stress comes from. Once you identify the situations that cause the most stress, you can try to avoid them.
Here are a few common reasons caregivers get stressed during the holiday season.
- Not having enough time.
- Family relationships.
- Setting unrealistic expectations.
- Financial concerns.
- Know Your Limitations
One of the biggest mistakes caregivers make is thinking they can do everything. You can save yourself a lot of grief by accepting this is just a myth. Not even the most energetic caregivers can do it all.
Here are a few ways you can limit your responsibilities.
- Modify traditions. It’s okay to simplify or even skip holiday traditions. Even if you traditionally host celebrations or prepare the meals, it’s okay to opt out this year.
- Decline invitations. Don’t feel obligated to attend every event you are invited to. Your friends and family will understand if you have to say no.
- Make Your Health a Priority
During the holidays, caregivers are often so busy that they neglect their health. Unfortunately, this will put you on the quickest path to burnout.
Here are a few ways caregivers can stay healthy this season.
- Don’t overindulge in treats. The holidays are often full of sweets, alcohol, and other unhealthy treats. While it’s okay to enjoy a few treats, it’s not okay to overindulge. Doing so can leaving you feeling sluggish.
- When you are exhausted, exercise may be the last thing you want to do. But contrary to what you may think, exercise can boost your mental and physical energy. Try your best to incorporate exercise in to your daily routine.
- Ask for Help
Caregiving is a lot of work, and sometimes you will need help. Here are a few ways caregivers can get support:
- Join a support group. Support groups can be a great way for you to connect with people who face similar challenges.
- Ask friends and family members. If you need additional help during the holidays, don’t hesitate to ask friends and family. Most of the time they will be happy to assist you.
- Explore respite care. Many senior communities like Heritage offer short-term respite care. This allows caregivers to take a break by offering their loved ones a safe place to stay.
The Holidays Can Be a Wakeup Call
The holidays can be a great chance for your family to see firsthand how much work you put in as a caregiver. This time of year may even encourage them to start thinking about your loved one’s long-term care. That may mean touring a local assisted living community, such as Heritage. Contact us to ask about the services offered by any of the Heritage Senior Communities.