The holidays are a wonderful time of year — except when they’re not. Many home caregivers, even as they enjoy many of the benefits associated with holidays, find that their stress levels can increase — sometimes dramatically. Suddenly there’s even more shopping to do than usual. The house has to be cleaned even more thoroughly than usual. The loved ones they tend need to be made to feel secure when their routines are disrupted. And that’s just the start of the list of stress inducers.
With that in mind, home caregivers may want to take advantage of the following tips which can help to reduce their stress to more manageable levels.
- Go with a list. With an increase in the number of things they have to do, home caregivers need to make a list of what has to get done and when it needs to be done by. It helps to prioritize the list, putting the “must do” items at the top and the “nice to get done but not essential” ones at the bottom. The list helps home caregivers make sure they haven’t forgotten anything — plus there’s a real psychological benefit to being able to physically strike off items on a list.
- Be realistic. It’s true that home caregivers often accomplish superhuman feats — but they are still only human. It’s good to remember that and not to take on too many tasks at one time. Either scale things back or determine that others must take on some of these responsibilities. Holidays are all about giving and sharing — and that includes giving tasks and sharing responsibilities.
- Eat right. Often stress causes people to either skip meals, eat too much, or eat things that taste good but aren’t healthy. When stress levels are high, it’s important to eat properly, neither too little nor too much, and to eat healthily.
- Be social. Laughter and socializing can be great ways to reduce stress. If things get a little hectic, call up a good friend and spend ten minutes unwinding. If a friend isn’t immediately available, watch a sitcom or a funny movie; the physical act of laughing helps the mind and body to de-stress.
- Watch out for signs of stress. Sometimes people are too busy to realize how stressed they are. Typical signs of stress include irritability, nervousness, headaches, upset stomachs, and tiredness. If they are experiencing these symptoms, home caregivers need to take a minute to stop what they are doing and find ways to relax. (Deep breathing or a little yoga can be ideal to encourage stress relief.)