It is the most wonderful time of the year! It is also known to be one of the most stress-filled. The holiday season can be overwhelming for many individuals as they manage personal responsibilities combined with the physical and/or cognitive health care needs of a loved one.
How are you doing this season?
During busy and stressful times, even when combined with the joy of a season, it is okay to accept the feelings you have and take care of your needs too. It is possible to be concerned about a loved one and take care of yourself.
We hope the following tips will brighten your holiday and allow for a wonderful season of self-care while also focusing on the well-being of a loved one. And if you are feeling too overwhelmed in managing the care of a loved one remember that we can help. We are here for you.
Holiday Tips for Self-Care:
- Focus on spending time with others and not on your tasks. Saying “no” is a great way to focus on spending quality time with those you love. “No” is not a four letter word.
- Delegate and always accept help. This one could be your new holiday mantra. Say it aloud over and over until you find yourself practicing it regularly. When you open yourself to this practice you build a stronger support system for yourself and others.
- Kindness often halts a stressful moment in its tracks. When you feel sad or mad, force a smile. When someone is rude, find a way to respond with kindness. When you are exhausted, stop and rest. While these types of tips are much easier said than done, the fact is the kindness strategy works. Remember: there is room for everyone on the nice list!
- Remember, accepting imperfection is perfect!
- Enjoy yourself and treat yourself well. It does not help others to deny yourself joy and relaxation.
Remember to take care of yourself first. You cannot take care of others well if you are struggling.
Holiday Tips When a Loved One Has Care Needs:
We often see our aging loved ones more frequently this time of year. We worry about them whether they be in their own home, an assisted living facility, or a skilled nursing facility. We wonder how to be most attentive. Taking an inventory of your loved one’s general well-being can be a wonderful gift in and of itself. Try these simple observations and in doing so, you could make all the difference in the world for them.
- Observe general appearance: Has it changed? If so, in what way?
- Determine their general mood: Has it changed? If so, in what way?
- Inquire into sleeping habits: Have these changed? If so, how are they different?
- Is pain present: Where is the pain? How long has this pain been present? Is it new?
- Observe personal care: Have self-care needs changed (bathing, dressing, grooming, use of hygiene supplies)? If so, in what way?
- Observe skin: Are there changes in skin condition, color, or texture?
- Respiratory/breathing: Is there shortness of breath or pain with breathing? Are there any triggers for these symptoms?
- Monitor appetite: Has it changed? If so, in what way?
- Inquire into elimination: Has it changed? Are concerns voiced about urination or bowel movements? If so, describe.
- Determine if there have been added or deleted medications: Why? Could anything observed be related to these changes?
After this inventory, write down the results and share them with other family members who also have concern for your loved one. There may be action steps to take such as reaching out to a medical provider. If your loved one lives in a facility, send an email of the results to the social worker and schedule a care plan meeting to discuss and assign follow-up tasks.
We wish you a wonderful end to 2021 and a joyful 2022