The everyday struggles that family caregivers face can be magnified during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. From missing out on holiday parties to finding time to shop and wrap gifts, it’s easy to understand why family caregivers often find themselves feeling a little blue during this typically festive season of the year.
But there are a few steps you can take now to prevent the holiday blues or help a loved one who is a caregiver avoid them.
6 Ways to Prevent the Caregiver Holiday Blues
Here are a few steps you can use to prevent the holiday blues when you are a caregiver:
- Ask for Help: Family caregivers aren’t always good at asking for or accepting help. If you haven’t been able to bring yourself to do so before, give yourself the gift of time this holiday season. Ask other family members to pitch in to help. If that isn’t an option, try to find an assisted living community near your Indiana home that offers respite care. Your loved one can join in on holiday parties at the community while you have some time to enjoy yourself.
- Spend Time Outdoors: While this might seem more like a summer activity, spending a few minutes outside each day can boost your mood even on a chilly winter day. Taking a brisk walk around your neighborhood will help lift your spirits. Just be sure to bundle up and put on sturdy footwear!
- Have Realistic Expectations: Family caregiving is emotionally and physically exhausting. If you have always gone all out to create the perfect holiday season, try to rein your expectations in a bit this year. It might mean modifying your holiday baking plans or purchasing gift cards in lieu of holiday gifts that need to be wrapped, but it will help you free up the time you need to enjoy the holidays.
- Say YES to a Weekly Holiday Activity: When you are busy caring for a senior loved one, it might be tempting to turn down holiday invitations or to avoid favorite holiday festivities. Doing so, however, can leave you feeling isolated and alone. Try to accept at least one invitation or to spend time engaging in one holiday tradition you enjoy each week. It might mean utilizing respite care for your loved one or taking them with you to a party, but it will likely help you enjoy a brighter holiday season.
- Daily Exercise Helps: If you can’t get outdoors to walk each day, have a few indoor exercise activities you and the senior you care for can do together. Simple forms of exercise like Chair Yoga or Tai Chi can make a real difference to your mental and physical health. The endorphins released by exercise have been proven to lift the spirit.
- Get Your Rest: Even though we’ve talked a lot about getting out with friends and family to celebrate the season, it’s also important to give yourself permission to say no. When you are worn out and stressed out, you open yourself up to both mental and physical illnesses. A good night of sleep is one of the best gifts a caregiver can give themselves this holiday season.
Caregiver Health and Wellness
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