Caregiving at any age is challenging at times. Being responsible for the medical, emotional, and financial care and well being of a loved one, especially if one is the sole caregiver, can be a lonely role.
If there is a shared responsibility with other family members, making collective decisions can also pose challenges.
The caregiver(s) must keep their own health in check. Family caregivers exhibit fully dedicated caretaking, with many tasks for which they have had no training, and little support. Nearly half have provided complex medical tasks such as wound care or giving injections at times. All this can cause the experience of emotional distress, anxiety, and social isolation. Ongoing stress can put the caregiver’s health at risk and even impact family relationships.
As the holidays bring on more pressures, it might be helpful to keep in mind the following tips to balance our well being as patients.Family members and caring givers must be mindful of balancing our days and keeping our health and well being in check as we move through the holiday season:
1. In between a hectic holiday schedule and ongoing care taking responsibilities, try to carve out just a little down time for yourself to preserve your stamina and physical strength to continue your caregiving role.
2. Save a little time in the day to get some fresh air (weather permitting) and a little exercise.
3. Maintain a regular and balanced meal schedule – treat yourself to a meal prep resource such as: Freshly (www.freshly.com
or Savor Health (www.savorhealth.com
) so that all you have to do is heat and serve. (If these resources are available to you in your area.)
4. Set a time in the day to meditate or utilize a creative outlet to refresh your mind and ultimately the rest of your body.
5. Don’t be shy about asking for help because more than likely, people are standing by to be asked and it will be rewarding
for them to be able to help you, especially if they offer on their own to help.
6. Keep a good dose of patience . . . keep emotions in check, and don’t take things personally. Find a positive message in a poem or a book to illuminate the start and end of your day.
These tips brought to you by Annie Achee of the National Leiomyosarcoma Foundation