Managing Time as a Caregiver During the Holidays—and Beyond
Finding time to recharge is essential to caregiving. Here’s how.
With everything going on in the world, it can be hard to get into the holiday spirit. And as a caregiver, managing time during the holidays can be especially difficult. It can be tricky, while you are taking care of your loved one and their health needs, to take care of yourself. Arranging and attending doctor appointments with your loved one, plus general caregiving duties, makes a busy schedule. Add holiday duties on top of that, and it can seem overwhelming.
Finding time for your own health is important, including your mental health. This is especially true if you are a full-time caregiver or if you work in addition to caregiving or perhaps have health challenges of your own.
Take time to relax or exercise, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Even a little time out can give you a boost. For relaxing you can read a book, take some time to mediate, or take in some fresh air around your neighborhood, if you are able to. Have a trusted family member, friend, or neighbor assume caregiving duties for you while you take some time to recharge. Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and family for help. Neighbors might even be willing to deliver a warm meal, to give you a break. If you can manage, make an appointment with a therapist who specializes in caregivers, if you are looking for someone to talk with, but don’t have close friends or family you can turn to. A therapist also can provide professional guidance. You can also look into respite care.
Finding time for your own health is important, including your mental health.
There are also resources in your community that might be able to grocery shop for you and the postal service can also pick up your mail and packages at your doorstep. Be sure to contact your loved one’s physicians or social worker for specific need fulfillment.
Finding time for other family members, including children of any age, especially during the holidays, while caregiving, can be stressful. You can Zoom or talk on the phone with friends and family who aren’t nearby, or if you are quarantining.
If you are new to caregiving, the holiday time might look different to you than it has in the past. The holidays plus caregiving might be overwhelming. If you have young children, it can be difficult for them to adjust to the new holiday situation. Make sure they are still able to partake in some of their favorite holiday activities, if you can. A trusted friend or another family member may also be able to include them in their own family’s holiday activities if you don’t think you will have enough time yourself while caregiving.
It can be easy to lose track of everything else outside your caregiving. But finding time for yourself during the holidays is important and, ultimately, spending some time on yourself and recharging, will help you become a better caregiver.