Coping With Caregiver Stress During the Holidays

December 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Being a caregiver to a family member is more stress than many of us can handle on a normal day, but compound the pressures of your typical routine with the mayhem of the holidays and it is bound to cause anxiety and depression in the most mentally stable individuals.
Family caregivers are already at a higher risk for depression according to the National Institutes on Health, but sometimes the mental health of the caregiver is pushed to the limits because they are dealing with their own holiday stress and the stress of their ailing family member.
It is important for caregivers to not only take care of their elder but to take care of themselves as well. Here are some tips on how to combat holiday stress:

  • Have realistic expectations for holiday celebrations – Keep it simple and remember what is truly important about the holidays, sharing with family and friends and being thankful for the blessings in our lives.
  • Give yourself a time out – When you are experiencing a particularly stressful situation step out of the room for a moment. Stepping onto the porch or into the bathroom for a few minutes will reduce  your anxiety level and actually help you think clearer about the issue at hand.
  • Think positive – Don’t let your negative thoughts get the best of you. We have a way of living up to our mind’s expectations. If you find yourself thinking something pessimistic, try to rephrase your thought to a positive. So instead of “This dinner is going to be horrible,” try thinking, “I’m going to enjoy my time with my family. I’m thankful to have a family to spend the holiday with.”
  • Ask for help – Don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. Whether you need to ask another family member to step in to give you a break or maybe you need help with a particular task or you need to speak a professional counselor, if you don’t ask, how will anyone ever know you need assistance?
  • Become a “yes man” – Since you are now going to ask for help, get used to saying, “yes”. If your brother offers to sit with mom for the afternoon, accept his offer. Resist the urge to feel guilty because you are putting him out. If you are having people over for dinner and they offer to bring something, don’t be proud, simply say, “yes” and follow it up with “it would be great if you could bring a salad or desert.”

Hopefully these suggestions will help your holiday season be merry and bright. However, if you do find the burden of being a caregiver too much to bear, you may want to consider speaking to an elder care professional to explore other options for assistance.
If you have any questions or concerns about caring for a family member, please contact the Law Office of Dawn M. Weekly, PC. The law firm located in Sandwich, Illinois and focuses on elder law and Life Care Planning for clients. Their office may be reached by calling 815-570-2334.

Every day of every week, Weekly Law is there for you.

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