Holidays are great fun, but they can be overwhelming too. Being a full-time caregiver at the holidays is twice as demanding since you are caring for two people. Here are a couple helpful hints for you to consider.
Holiday Survivorship Skills
ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE MERELY HUMAN. ~ Be realistic. Hold onto those most important rituals and know that some are not possible. Avoid perfectionist expectations during the holidays. Some things are justnot feasible. If you really want to do all those holiday cookies, let go of the dusting. Or do a cookie exchange and get a variety. Try not to do it all yourself.
PLAN AHEAD. ~ Sit down with your family and friends ahead of time to discuss and decide those activities, experiences and people that make the holidays special for you. Decide to do a few special things with a few special people, not everything and see everybody.
SET LIMITS. ~ Tell your family, friends and yourself that you are on a "Stress Reduction Diet" this holiday season. Remind others and yourself that you will not be over-doing, over-shopping, over-complying or over-worrying this year. Put up signs around your house as reminders.
“My Thought for the Holiday Season”……….
Yes, we do address many of the problems of caregiving here, but we also want to point out that there are many times when we need to be grateful. There is a Benedictine and Zen monk, David Steindl-Rast who invites us to be grateful for all that happens in life. To be perfectly clear, he’s not even remotely suggesting that we give thanks because our loved ones have Alzheimer’s or any other long term disease. He is encouraging gratitude because, in the midst of the diminishments of this disease, we have the opportunity to do something to make a difference.
We all know that caregivers DO make a difference. We are not helpless to relieve the suffering of people with these diseases. We can provide companionship in various ways and to be silent if need be. We can offer comfort through a smile, a touch, or a hug. We can assist persons in realizing their potential by walking, exercising, or attending activities with them. The ways for relieving their loneliness through loving attention are as plentiful as our time and our hearts allow.
Our challenging journey toward acceptance can transform our personal pain and loss into meaningful, healing experiences for our selves, our loved ones, and others who are touched by disease. For this healing, transforming potential we can be grateful. As one of the caregivers in one of our support groups likes to say, “Our attitude is our choice.” I hope this gives you another view of the journey you are on with your loved one.