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Holiday Stress Relief for Caregivers

Article submitted by Rebecca Sharp Colmer: Eldercare Advocate, Author, Publisher, Speaker. Find Rebecca’s books online.
The Gift of Caregiving – Click Here
More Books by Rebecca Colmer – Click Here

If you are a caregiver you are probably already familiar with the effects of stress. With the upcoming holidays it is almost a sure bet your stress level will go up. You may start to feel more tired than usual. You may worry more. You may feel like everyone else is piling their stress onto you. Here are a few things you can do to help lessen your stress level. Even the relatively small things can add up.

  1. Keep your expectations in check. You have no control over anyone else's behavior. There are going to be a number of people who are frazzled just because it is the holiday season. You have complete control over how you respond to their behavior.
  2. Don't try to do too much. If you are a caregiver, your plate is already full. Encourage your friends and family to reach out to both you and the care-receiver. Remember what is important, stay focused. Find out what is important to the care-receiver.
  3. Stay healthy. Wash your hands frequently. Stay away from the booze and junk food. Make a concerted effort to get some exercise. Practice deep breathing several times a day.
  4. Practice the power of a positive attitude. Put a positive spin on everything you say and do. Turn-off negative self-talk.
  5. Stay organized. Don't forget the basics. It is okay to streamline holiday traditions. In fact, it is okay to start new trend.
  6. Get enough sleep. Don't burn the candle at both ends.
  7. Schedule some time off. This time is invaluable to both the caregiver and care-receiver. Ask for respite help from family members, neighbors, and friends.
  8. Keep a "Joy Journal". Every day write down your top five joys of the day. Finding joy and compassion in your surroundings is very freeing. It takes a lot more energy to be angry and inpatient.
  9. Utilize your support system. Share your feelings with family and friends you trust. You are not alone. Help is available. There are millions of people in similar situations. Be proactive and locate resources within your family circle and within your community, whether or not you intend to use them.
  10. Tune in to the care-receiver and encourage him/her to talk from the heart and share their wisdom. This can be a wonderful gift and rewarding experience. Use this holiday season to capture special memories. Don't be afraid to laugh and enjoy the season.

It is natural to have emotional reactions to the challenges and responsibilities of your job. Stay aware of your feelings because they influence your behavior and judgment. Don't use the holidays as an excuse to let your stress level boil over. Take it easy, one day at a time.

Posted December 2012 on www.SeniorsResourceGuide.com