It’s likely as the holiday season rolls around that you’re experiencing emotional and physical stress as a spouse, partner, friend, or adult child caregiver. There are parties to plan, loved ones to see, and desserts to eat. It may not cross your mind as often as it should, but your health is an important part of the caregiving equation. Give yourself the gift of peace of mind this year.
Where You Live Matters provides these tips to manage holiday stress for caregivers:
- Get to the core of the anxiety. In addition to managing the stress of caregiving, holidays and family members can bring on another level of anxiety. You’ve heard the saying, “you can’t control other people, but you can control the way you react.” That surely applies to the holidays. Take a deep breath, maybe a minute to meditate, and allow yourself to handle the day calmly.
- Adjust your expectations. There is always something to be thankful for. Even if the celebrations aren’t living up to your childhood expectations, try to keep in mind you’re still spending time with your loved ones and making new memories.
- Communicate with family members. You have seen your loved one each day while taking care of them, but your siblings or nieces and nephews may not have. Make sure to communicate with everyone visiting the changes that may have taken place since the last holiday season and allow them to adjust their expectations as well.
- If you’re hosting, keep it simple. Hosting a celebration can be overwhelming without caring for a loved one. Remember that family and friends are coming, so every responsibility isn’t on your shoulders. Ask them to bring the pumpkin pie or the salad, so you can focus on more manageable tasks and your loved ones needs.
Conflicting emotions during these times are common. You are not alone in the struggle to balance a responsibility of caregiving and a feeling of guilt for wanting to spend more time relaxing. AARP found that over 20% of adults in the U.S. are providing some form of unpaid care to a family member.
To join a support group and discuss these feelings with others experiencing the same things, reach out to the community nearest you today.