Christmas can be a busy time, especially if you care for a loved one who requires support. Amidst all the events, family gatherings and extra responsibilities, it can be easy to neglect your own needs and risk burning out as the year ends.
Here are some practical tips for practicing self-care and nurturing yourself during the festive season.
Take care of your physical health – when life gets busy and your regular routine is disrupted, don’t forget to keep eating nutritious, balanced meals and doing regular exercise that you enjoy. Also remember to stay hydrated and drink enough water (about eight cups) during the day.
Make a list of people you can call on – whether it’s someone who can help you with errands, a family member or friend you can share openly with, a counsellor or your loved one’s care worker and support coordinator, keep a list of people you can call on for help, so you are well supported.
Don’t forget about sleep – getting enough sleep each night is an important way to look after your health, improve your mood and reduce your stress levels. Generally most adults need 7 or more hours of sleep a night. If you’re having trouble sleeping, there are plenty of resources that can help.
Take a break of you need one – while Christmas can come with lots of social events and obligations, it’s okay to say no and have a night in if you need to have some downtime. Life is all about balance, and taking a break for your own mental health and stress levels is important too!
Make the shopping easier – going to the shops can sometimes be a stressful experience in the holiday season, with increased crowds, less parking and more items on your list with presents and gatherings. Try alternatives that will save you time, such as online shopping, ‘click and collect’ or home delivery services.
Make time for the things you enjoy – before scheduling everybody else in, make sure you set aside time to do things that bring you joy, whether it’s going for a walk, a creative activity, going out for coffee with a friend or a social club in your community. Filling your own bath will help you take care of others.
Don’t forget to have a laugh – life doesn’t have to be perfect all the time. If you find Christmas and New Years an overwhelming time, keep things simple, manage your expectations and try to maintain your sense of humour, even when mistakes are made and things don’t go according to plan.
Plan your respite ahead of time – having some time off from your caring responsibilities is important as a carer, so you can tend to your own needs and get some rest. If you can, try to book some respite care ahead of time. Home Caring offers flexible respite care you can trust, according to your needs.
Keep to a routine – if you feel stress creeping in, sometimes it helps to stick to a simple routine that suits you and your loved one. Eating meals at regular times, having a morning routine or displaying a calendar with what’s happening in the next few weeks can help you feel calmer and more in control.
Check what’s closed over the holidays – vital services can be closed during the Christmas and New Year period. Check when your local GP, pharmacy, allied health professional or specialist is closed over the holiday season. It may also be worth keeping a list of emergency contacts handy in case you need it.
Accept offers of help – we can’t do everything on our own. If someone offers to help you with housework, bring a dish to an event, host this year’s Christmas or take a task off your hands, don’t feel bad accepting it – or asking for help (people are usually more than happy to lend a hand).
Home Caring provides high quality care services to support you or your loved one at home. As a Home Care Package and NDIS provider, we help seniors and people living with disability remain independent and enjoy quality of life. For more information, please get in touch for a FREE consultation.