Caregivers at Christmas: Four Survival Tips

Me and Mom Christmas LunchAs a caregiver to my ageing mother, I am spending a lot of time accompanying her to the hospital, negotiating for her care and calming her fears. This didn’t stop on Black Friday. Whether they live in our home, around the corner or an hour away, worrying and caring for our parents can drain our personal resources. Here are 4 small things to remember during Christmas and New Year’s that can make a big difference to your well-being.

Give up on perfectionism.

Okay, let’s be honest, perfection doesn’t really exist anyway. There is no “perfect”. Someone else will always do it better. It’s time to let go of those Martha Stewart comparisons. Through the holidays, just aim for being kind to yourself and kind to others and get a foot rub from time to time. (Thanks Gerry!)

Guilt is a useless emotion.

Okay, maybe not useless, but “guilt” is often overused by caregivers. I was talking to someone about a negative emotion that creeps up on me and stops me from speaking up or saying “no”, and he said: “get over it”. (He likes to get to the point.) It reminded me that if your emotion is not helpful, it is destructive. So release it; or, if it is deeply rooted, get some help to release it.

Take a deep breath and move.

 

While you do, check into your body and find a stress point and exaggerate it. I mean, if you grit your teeth or there is tightness in your shoulders, tighten that up really tight and release it while exhaling. When I can’t pinpoint one spot, I like to stretch up from a sitting position, take a deep break and exaggerate my body deflating to reach down for my toes, relaxing everything as I reach down. A couple of those will rejuvenate you.

If your loved one is needy, it’s not a moral issue to stop paying attention to them to do these simple acts to take care of yourself. In fact, I might argue that it is immoral to not take care of yourself.

The 1% rule.

Spend 1% of your day meditating or reflecting on what you are grateful for and inviting good things into your life. That is 15 minutes a day. And you are worth 1% of your day!

Don’t give in to the hype. If you have celebrations in the next week, make it a priority to be kind to yourself and pace yourself first. Protect yourself from the critics, drama queens and other energy suckers. You are wonderful and give more than enough. Even if the one you care for can’t or won’t show appreciation: someone is noticing!

Thanks for reading me. I would love to hear from you. Either below, or on FB or a direct message. 🙂

Peace and Serenity to you this week and every day!

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