Holiday season is finally upon us once again. In most families, this time of year is filled with social gatherings, cooking, traveling, and getting in touch with friends and loved ones. For caregivers, this time of year can be a cause for anxiety as expectations and obligations that may have been your norm in the past may now seem insurmountable with the new addition of your role as caregiver. Perhaps the loved one whom you care for has had a significant change since last year and you are worried about the effect that may have on people who care about them.
Reach out. This time of year most people communicate more with their friends and loved ones who they may not get to speak to as often. This is a great opportunity for you to open up and let people know what you have been dealing with, and what they could do to help you.
Let people know. Perhaps you have been shouldering the responsibility of caregiver on your own, because you don’t want to burden your loved ones. Hiding the situation from those who care for you only leaves you on your own, so update those around you on the situation. They will be glad you did – and will be able to offer you the support they may not have realized you were in need of.
The power of no. If your loved ones and social obligations are expecting too much of you, exercise the power of NO. Let people know how much you are capable of this year, and what areas you need help in. Failing to say no could result in yourself being overwhelmed, and not being able to enjoy the holidays at all.
Celebrate. The holidays are meant to be a time for celebrating. Take time to be with those you care about, and be grateful for all you have.
If the tasks required of you as a caregiver are becoming too much, or getting beyond your personal abilities, it may be time to consider a professional caregiver. If you need time to yourself for the holidays, such as if you need to travel and your loved one is unable, you may want to investigate respite care for a period of time. Above all, remember to take care of yourself as well. Too often caregivers prioritize the loved one they care for, and neglect their own emotional well being. This holiday season, take time to be with those you care about, and find joy in the love around you.