Caregiver Chronicle

The holidays are a stressful time for most people. Between finding gifts for everyone on your list, wrapping those gifts and entertaining family for holiday visits, you barely have a moment for yourself. Add in caring for an ill loved one and you’re as exhausted as you possibly could be.

This is called burnout. According to Google, burnout is a physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress, and it is a serious problem among caregivers. The first step to dealing with burnout is identifying the signs. When you’re burned out you can experience foggy thinking, emotional ups and downs, inability to sit still or the opposite feeling of being frozen.

Luckily, there are ways to reduce or entirely remove burnout. Start by identifying the causes of your burnout. Are there certain activities or family members that trigger your stress? Try to prepare yourself before encountering these situations. It may even be best to limit your exposure or even steer clear of those people and activities. If you can’t completely avoid these then, remember to be mindful of your emotions and try to stay positive.

Another idea is to scale back on the holiday activities. Of course you want to get in the spirit of things, but you don’t have to go all out. Stick to the decorations and food that are most special to you to. The holidays aren’t a time for perfection. They are a time for enjoyment.

Also, remember to take care of yourself too. It’s easy to forget about yourself when you’re the primary caregiver of a loved one and you’re hosting guests for the holidays. It’s good to carve out an hour or even a half hour from your day to take for yourself. Read a book, cook yourself a nice meal, write in a journal or maybe try exercise. Make sure you make some time for an activity that de-stresses you.

Lastly, remember that you don’t have to do it alone. There are plenty of online supports groups that can help you in a time of need. Also rely on family and friends to help with both your holiday preparations and your caregiving duties.

Written by Damaris Lopez