Parents Learning Together
Caregiver Self-Care Over the Holidays
The Holidays can be a stressful time for caregivers. Filled with happy times and overwhelming times. It may not seem like there is time for self care, but this is an effective way to reduce stress, improve wellbeing, and help find some joy during those overwhelming times.
Make time for yourself – It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of extra tasks and hassles that the holidays bring. Added on top of regular caregiver responsibilities, it can really crank up the stress level. To help balance this out, make it a priority to take some time for yourself to sit quietly, relax and recharge. Remind yourself that self care isn’t a waste of time. Brief time-outs can make you feel more present and calm.
Know your priorities – There may be dozens of things going on during the holiday season, and you can run yourself ragged trying to keep up with all of the demands. Take a moment to consider what is the most important to you? Taking this time to consider what gives you the most meaning and fulfillment can help you prioritize activities, events, and even people.
Reflect on what you are grateful for – Practicing daily gratitude is a proven stress buster. The practice of gratitude can change your perspective and can help you see that there is always some good in life, even in tough times. To practice, write down 3 things you are grateful for, or tell someone why you are grateful for them.
Remember that holiday stress will pass – When you are in the middle of a stressful situation, it can feel as if it will never pass. Keep reminding yourself that this will be over soon, and that you have successfully made it through every other holiday season, and you will this one too. Try to notice all the positive things happening and see the joy.
Try to understand why you might be having negative emotions – Negative emotions during the holidays could be related to unrealistic expectations of yourself or your family, goals set too high, or just feeling overwhelmed. If you are feeling negative, you may need to adjust your expectations to match the reality of the situation or choose to do a few less activities.
Find reasons to laugh – Humor is a fantastic way to reduce stress and an effective way of coping with challenging situations. Take the opportunity to laugh as much as possible during the holidays. If being funny doesn’t come naturally to you, watch a funny movie, play a funny game like charades, or have a fun sing-along.
Take a few moments for deep breathing, meditation, or music – To help your body de-stress and relax, try a simple breathing technique that can be used anywhere at any time – Box Breathing – or try meditating for a few minutes – 2 Minute Mindfulness. Other ways to help your body and mind release tension are to get out into nature, listen to music, do a quick workout, or stretch your body.
Lean on a self care buddy – When you know that times are going to be challenging, it can help you to have someone to talk to – in person, online, via phone, or even by text. Sharing our challenges with others in a non-judgmental environment can really help alleviate stress and remind us that we aren’t alone.