Self-Care For Caregivers During the Holidays

Because of the care, effort, and attention that you have provided to other people, it is
natural for your wants and needs to take a backseat at times. This Holiday season, we
want to make sure that you have access to the information and skills you need to
practice self-care so that you do not find yourself exhausted and depleted when the
holiday season is over. Here are some ways you can practice self-care during the
holidays.

  1. Stress-Management Support
  2. Holiday Self-Care Plan
  3. Community/Group Support
  4. Life Harmony Using Self-Care

What do we know about caregivers, according to the latest research?

The population of family caregivers has been increasing by the millions over the last five
years, so as a caregiver, you are not alone; family caregivers make up 20 percent of the
population. Being a caregiver can take a toll on your health. Thankfully, there are some
tools and resources that can help you as you navigate the responsibilities of caregiving.
Check out the research below.
“the 2020 update reveals an increase in family caregivers in the United States of 9.5
million from 2015 to 2020. Family caregivers now encompass more than one in five
Americans. The study also reveals that family caregivers have worst health than five

years ago.” https://www.caregiving.org/research/caregiving-in-the-us/caregiving-in-the-
us-2020/

Stress-Management

Being a caregiver for someone or a loved one is an honorable thing that aligns with
great principles. As human beings, we have a range of emotions like being happy,
exhausted, lonely, frustrated, angry, etc. Taking care of other people is already
challenging enough without worrying about our health. So, here are some strategies for
coping with the stress that accompanies the role of a caregiver.

  1. Identify the signs of stress. Some signs of stress include being overwhelmed,
    constantly tired more than usual, sleeping too little or too much, not finding
    pleasure in the things you used to do anymore, and being easily irritable or
    angry.
  2. Create goals that deal with your health. Some goals that you can make for
    your health includes setting a bedtime and going to your doctor’s appointments
    regularly, like dental appointments, checkups, and any small or big appointments.
    For example, Make sure to put it on your calendar to get regular exercise and
    prepare healthy snacks and foods to help fuel your body.
  3. Seek out community. It’s necessary to have group support, and sometimes
    other family or friends can help. Participating in these groups or leaning on family
    can be a tremendous help and a reminder that you are not alone. Others want to
    see you doing well.
  4. Create self-care time. Create time for your hobbies and things that bring you
    joy, daily or weekly. For example, if you like to paint, find a day when you can do
    a quick 5-minute painting. If you want to learn new dances, go to YouTube to
    learn a contemporary dance every Friday.

These four suggestions above can help you develop a stress management technique to
deal with stress in a healthy way. Remember, if you fall off or your schedule changes,
you can always pivot and make changes to some or a few of these suggestions. It may
take time to manage your stress, but it’s imperative for your overall health.

Holiday Self-Care Plan

When it comes to the holidays, you may need a to-do list. You need a plan to ensure
your self-care needs are met and prioritized. Your goal should be to do at least one
thing for yourself. First, do a quick brain dump of your feelings, what you have to do for
the holidays, and what the one thing is that you’d like to do for yourself when it comes to
self-care. Second, take some time to make a quick plan. Third, put it on your calendar
and figure out where you will do the self-care and when you have the time. Four, be
action-oriented and do it. Remember, self-care isn’t selfish. It’s healthcare.

Here are some ways you can practice self-care this holiday:

  1. Journaling, being in touch with your feelings and emotions.
  2. Plan at least one thing you will do for yourself.
  3. Practice meditating or breathing exercises.
  4. Figure out things you like about the holidays and do them. For example,
    decorating your home or dressing up for the holidays, making tasty treats,
    singing Christmas music, and playing games. The more joyful memories, the
    better.
  5. Get some support if you feel overwhelmed by the occasion or what you must get
    done. Reach out to someone or support groups and get some help.
  6. Bonus, do one thing that makes you feel excited.

Community/Group Support

Having a sense of community and spaces where you belong can increase your joy and
help you deal with the negative emotions and feelings of being a caregiver. When
speaking of community, there are caregiver groups and family and friends who may
reach out to help in some way.
Let’s begin with caregiver groups. There are many groups out there and others with
similar feelings and responsibilities that you can connect with. Below are a few
caregiver groups. Also, check out this blog for more information. Caregiver Support
Groups Near Me – SelfCare4Caregivers

National Alliance for Caregiving


https://www.caregiving.org/


National Family Caregivers Association


Caregiver Action Network (CAN)


https://www.caregiveraction.org/


Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA)


Family Caregiver Alliance


Alzheimer’s Association


Alzheimer’s Association


American Cancer Society


American Cancer Society


Area Agencies on Aging (AAA)


https://www.usaging.org/


Home-Assisted Senior Care


https://www.caring.com/

All of these different groups and resources are here to help. Check out the link to learn
more information, and see which group is right for you. We are all stronger together
when we learn and share; because no one should feel isolated and alone figuring out
life; at some point, we all need help.

Another great community to utilize is the family and friends who care about your well-
being and want to help. Take some time to figure out how you’d like them to help. For

example, if you don’t have time to cook, ask them to bring dinner over or maybe ask
them to come over to spend some quality time with you.

Life Harmony Using Self-Care

This idea that life is perfectly balanced is a myth, but you can have harmony. Harmony
in life is something that we all want to achieve; we must make time for things that bring
us peace and joy. Here are a couple suggestions:

  1. Prioritize your needs. It’s hard to practice when you are a caregiver, and it won’t
    be easy, but we all have needs, wants, and desires. When our needs aren’t met,
    we are left lacking, and that sense of lack can bring about stress and sadness.
    Self-Care is a great way to advocate for yourself, whether daily, weekly, or
    monthly, to do something that brings peace, joy, and excitement.
  2. Try to organize your schedule as best as possible to reduce stress.
  3. Lean into the community, support groups, resources, and tools when you need
    help.
  4. Practice self-compassion.
  5. Try to find time for as much rest as your schedule allows.
  6. Try to keep your healthy habits 80 percent of the time, eat well, exercise, sleep,
    make regular doctor visits, and practice stress management.

The holidays can be a time of both joy and stress. One of the best ways to take care of
yourself is to do something for yourself. What will you do for yourself this holiday
season? Let compassion and love be a driving force for treating your needs, and
remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Just do your best. May your holidays be filled
with joy.

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