Caregiver Blues: Tips to help family caregivers cope with depression this holiday season.
Even though the holiday season is a time for family, friends and lots of activities, it can also be a stressful time for many people, especially seniors and their family caregivers. Unrealistic expectations, loneliness, reflection on losses, anxiety about an uncertain future, failing to get enough sleep, exercise, or not eating right are a few reasons that may cause caregiver blues over the holidays.
Here are some great tips on how you, or the family caregiver in your life, can prevent the holiday caregiver blues:
Set realistic expectations for yourself and your family. Know that it’s okay to say “no” and not feel guilty about doing so. Identify two or three-holiday activities you and the senior in your care would like to do over the holidays and stick to those things.
Ask for help. People want to be useful to you, but they may not know how they can best help. Be specific with what you need help with and just ask.
Self-care during the holidays (and throughout the year) is a good thing. Family caregivers need to have time to care for themselves. This will help you stay healthy, recharge, and avoid caregiver burnout. Carve out time to stop, breath, and feel the joy of the season. Take time to get outdoors, to exercise, and to do something uplifting for yourself.
Seek Additional Support. If you’re experiencing caregiver stress or burnout that seems beyond that of the holidays, it may be time to seek additional support. FirstLight Home Care and our professional caregivers help the family caregiver with senior care support. We understand the importance of respite care and how important it is for caregivers to find time to rest and recharge.
Be social. It’s important to find time to interact with family and friends. Carve out time to have fun, laugh and focus on something other than your caregiving responsibilities.
Naps are your friend. Be sure to get enough sleep. You’ll be more stressed if your body is tired and drained of energy.
Avoid overstimulation. If you’re a caregiver for a person with Alzheimer’s or dementia, avoid overly stimulating environments which can increase his/her stress, and yours. Avoid shopping over the weekends or hosting large gatherings that will escalate your stress levels.
Eat right and exercise. Watch what you eat and drink. Certainly, treat yourself this holiday season, but avoid the temptation to overeat those holiday goodies or overindulge in alcoholic beverages. Plus, make time to exercise. Take a walk, ride your bike, or get to the health club for yoga or a swim class. Exercise can be a tremendous benefit to your physical and emotional health.
There are ways for family caregivers to cope with and manage the holiday blues so that they can enjoy everything the holiday season brings.
What recommendations would you give a family caregiver on how he/she can prevent caregiver blues this holiday season? Comment below or join our conversation over on Facebook.
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