Oftentimes, balancing the holidays and taking care of our loved ones in seniors’ home care can be stressful. Most of us go into the holiday season with the expectation we can get it all done. We have shopping, cooking, cleaning, decorating, wrapping gifts, and more to do. With everyone wishing us a happy holiday season, we feel like we should be feeling happy and warm and filled with joy. Holiday preparation can often feel like just one more thing to do on top of working and taking care of our families. Feeling that we must live up to the perfect Hollywood version of the holidays can result in feelings of stress and anxiety. Forbes recommends, “By prioritizing self-care through rest and meditation, we can avoid holiday burnout and keep our energy levels high, our emotional state bright, and our resilience strong.”
Professional and family caregivers may feel an added pressure. We recognize that our home-bound or disabled loved ones may feel isolated during the holidays. and the loss of loved ones is often felt more acutely during this time of year. We want them to have a wonderful holiday and experience the positive feelings they had when they were younger. Is this realistic? Is this even what our seniors want?
The small holiday comforts for seniors’ home care
Providing companionship and taking the time to create those small comforts during the holidays will usually be enough to brighten the lives of those we care about and take the pressure off the caregiver. These pleasures may include:
- Playing familiar holiday music.
- Decorating the client or family member’s home or room.
- Talking about holiday memories.
- Using watercolors to paint a picture of a holiday memory.
- Looking at family photos.
- Watching a holiday movie.
- Taking a drive to see decorations and holiday lights.
- Looking through holiday catalogs and talking about what you see.
- Baking and decorating holiday cookies to eat and give as gifts.
Self-care during the holidays
It is not enough to focus only on your clients and loved ones. It is also important to focus on ourselves and practice self-care, particularly during the cold, winter holiday season. Doing so can help avoid, decrease stress, and reduce the chance of getting sick. One aspect of self-care is maintaining a healthy work/life balance and managing holiday stress. This includes engaging in stress-reducing activities such as those listed in the online article, Self-Care for Caregivers. These include:
- Prioritize your physical needs – that means eating well, exercising, and sleeping 7-8 hours each night.
- Make time to relax. Even if you only have a few minutes, have a cup of tea or listen to some favorite music.
- Take a day off. If you are feeling burned out, find a way to take a break by speaking to your supervisor (paid caregiver) or, for family caregivers, asking for help and/or seeking respite care from a company like Family Resource Home Care.
- Practice mindfulness. Meditation, yoga, and Tai Chi are shown to have real benefits.
- Remember your boundaries. It’s easy to become over-involved with your client or loved one but remember your own limits and set appropriate boundaries.
- Get outside. Spending time in nature can help relieve stress.
- Keep your sense of humor and practice positive thinking.
Caring for others may have high demands. It is also one of the most needed and important jobs you may ever have. When you start to feel stressed, remember that you are respected and appreciated for all that you do. If that doesn’t work, give us a call. We are here for anyone enduring holiday stress!
How To Overcome The Holiday Stress Cycle With Meditation