If you are a family caregiver of a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, you know that the holidays bring special challenges. On one hand, you enjoy all the music and decorations, as well as getting together with family and friends. However, all that hustle and bustle can create unwanted tensions as you struggle to balance holiday plans with caring for your loved one.
What you need to know is that if you are not careful you may find your emotional and physical health spiraling out of control. Caregiver burnout is a very real health issue. And it can be even more devastating over the holidays.
That is why it’s so important to take special care of yourself these days. And, for selfless and dedicated family caregivers, like you, that’s not easy.
Here are some tips we’ve collected, from our own staff and other professional resources to help you stress less over the holidays and enjoy them more:
- Exercise. A short work out, or even a walk, helps reduce stress.
- Eat well. A balanced meal will fortify you and help bolster your immune system.
- Get your sleep! This is needed to recharge your body and your mind.
- Reduce responsibilities and lower self-expectations. Eliminate or cut down on any activities you don’t truly enjoy. Let others do some of the baking or shopping for you.
- Reach out for help. You need breaks. Let your inner circle know and don’t be afraid to ask them to relieve you for an afternoon or evening so that you can take some time for yourself. Consider joining a local dementia support group as well.
These steps may seem obvious and yet most caregivers neglect to take them. Don’t let the simplicity of them lead you to downplay their power.
Instead, wake up each day and ask yourself, “Am I doing too much?” “How can I get a better night’s sleep tonight?” “Who can relieve me of my caregiving duties so that I can spend an afternoon on my own?”
Caring for yourself makes you a better caregiver to others. Make sure you treating yourself to the same tender loving care you give your loved one. It will make all the difference.