Taking Care of Yourself During the Holidays
We likely all feel it. The underlying stress that comes when entering the holiday season. Typically, this stress comes from overextending ourselves and the hectic pace of holiday commitments. This year has an added anxiety as we work to safely navigate the coronavirus crisis. You are preoccupied with keeping yourself, your family, and your community safe and healthy. This is still, of course, vitally important. But let this be a reminder to take care of yourself too. As a caregiver, you likely could be feeling burnt out and stressed about how to make the holiday season special for your loved one while being unable to take part in the usual traditions. But just because the circumstances surrounding the holidays have changed, doesn’t mean we can’t still find joy in the season. Our self-care might look a little different but is still possible. Here are some things you can do as a caregiver to take care of yourself, and in turn, your loved one.
Get connected to resources.
A number of resources exist to provide support to older adults and caregivers during this time. Here are just a few.
- The COVID-19 Senior Support Service provides additional support for older adults and their family caregivers during this crisis through the delivery of essential items and wellness check phone calls. Contact the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan (AAAWM) to get started at (616) 456-5664.
- Virtual offerings: Most of our programming at AAAWM has transitioned to virtual platforms so you can continue to receive support. This includes our Family Caregiver University, Healthy Aging Program, Dementia Friends, Caregiver Support Group, and Advocates for Senior Issues. You can learn more about each of these programs at https://www.aaawm.org/senior-resources.
- Michigan StayWell Counseling. If you are experiencing emotional distress in the context of COVID-19, call the COVID-19 Hotline at 1-888-535-6136 and press “8” to talk to a Michigan Stay Well counselor.
Ask for Help.
When we are caring for a loved one, we often feel like it is a task we must take on our own, not wanting to bother anyone. But more than likely, people are willing to jump in to help, they simply don’t know you’ve been struggling. Reach out to a friend or family member, they might be able to drop off a meal, run an errand, or stay with your loved one for a few hours.
Some things are certainly off the table, but others can still be done safely. Send out holiday cards via the mail. Bake your favorite holiday-themed dessert and drop it off on your neighbor’s doorstep. Watch a beloved holiday movie. There are plenty of ways to still create that special holiday magic and make it an enjoyable season for you and your loved one.
Recognize and take stock of the good around you. This seems cliché, but the mindset makes all the difference. Try to stay grounded and mindful in the present moment you are in and the things you do have. Recognize that this holiday season is unique and undoubtedly presents its own challenges, but that it won’t likely be the norm forever. Therefore, this upcoming holiday season is truly unprecedented, and using this time to try new things could be the perfect change in mindset.
Take Care of Yourself
This could be a more stressful time for you than usual, especially with the many changes, so it is important to remember to take care of yourself. Self-care can take a variety of forms, from moving your body to reading a book. Take time to do something that you love and that is just for you to enjoy.
If you have questions on further support that is available or would like to be set up with the services mentioned above, you can call (616) 456-5664 or (888) 456-5664.