Plan Now to Avoid Holiday Caregiver Burnout

Plan Now to Avoid Holiday Caregiver Burnout

  • November 06, 2017

As a caregiver, being there for someone you love is important. At the same time, fulfilling that role can sometimes put strain on your own health and wellness. 

When the hectic pace of the holidays begins to heat up, it can all start to feel like too much for a family caregiver.

The Holidays Can Add to Caregiver Stress

Between the shopping, the social events, the cooking, and the parties, it’s hard to find time to unwind from November to January. The increased demands on your time and energy can cause a family caregiver’s stress levels to skyrocket. 

Too much stress can lead to mood swings, digestive problems, and a compromised immune system. The last thing you need in the midst of all the holiday craziness is to come down with a cold or the flu. 

Don’t Let Your Stress Lead to Holiday Caregiver Burnout

With so many people depending on you, it’s vital that you plan ahead to manage your schedule and expectations during the holiday season. This may help you to avoid a condition worse than normal stress--caregiver burnout. 

Caregiver burnout is a state of being totally overwhelmed by all your responsibilities. Marked by a numbness, hopelessness, moodiness, and lack of motivation, it’s often the result of forgetting to care for yourself. If you let this unhealthy level of stress go too long, your symptoms can worsen leading to sleep disorders, depression, and a reduced ability to concentrate. 

How to Avoid Holiday Caregiver Burnout

Here are some steps you can take so the stress of the season doesn’t disrupt your health. 

Recognize the Signs of Caregiver Stress

Before your stress turns into burnout, learn to recognize the signs of burnout: tearfulness, agitation, loss of hope, anxiety and insomnia are just a few. You may already be on the lookout for stress… in your senior loved one. Now turn that concern inward and practice self-care. 

Pay Attention to Physical Well-Being, Too

Sometimes people forget that stress can take its toll on the body as well as the mind. Eating right, getting enough sleep, and exercising can help you manage caregiver stress

Manage Your Holiday Expectations

Everyone has fond memories of past holiday seasons, when everything was ‘perfect.’ Trying to recreate the past can add to your stress levels. You may not have had the responsibility of being a family caregiver back then. Your senior loved one may have been healthier and stronger and more able to help.

Instead of striving to make the holidays ‘perfect’  settle for doing your best. Maybe you only have time to bake one batch of cookies this year. Maybe you can’t get to all the parties you were able to make in the past. Focus on what’s most important and what makes the season truly joyful for you. 

Know that You are Not Alone

You may find comfort in knowing that over 40 million people in the U.S. are experiencing the same issues as you. They also care for a senior loved one and have to be mindful of their own stress levels. 

Everyone has their own way of preventing burnout but the increasing availability of caregiver resources in all forms is a big help. One to consider is respite care. This short-term support can help family caregivers like you find more hours in their day.

Five Star Senior Living is dedicated to providing support to the nation’s caregivers. From our blog and other online resources to respite care and short-term stays, we make the family caregiver role more manageable. Call us to find out more!

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