November 15, 2016

5 Caregiving Tips to Help You Navigate the Holidays (and Beyond)

In honor of all caregivers out there, SpinLife hopes you will find these caregiving tips helpful.

When you’re stepping up to help a friend or loved one on a health journey, the holidays can become an extra-stressful time. In addition to your already-jammed to-do list, being a caregiver during the holidays demands a good chunk of extra time – as well as taking more of a financial and emotional toll.Thanksgiving Word Cloud Website Banner - Female cupped hands cradled by male hands outstretched with a white 'Thanksgiving' word floating above and relevant word cloud on a stone effect background

 

I came up with some resources for you: insights, ideas and caregiving tips designed to help you navigate the holidays and “keep your merry up” this year.

1. Stay Connected

In the article “How words have the power to heal” by CNNHealth.com contributor, Amanda Enayati, she describes how blogging helped save her life by providing her with a therapeutic outlet to share her experience. If you’re facing a less-than-merry holiday season because of an overloaded to-do list, it helps to share your experience, and embrace the support and positive attitudes of your friends.

 

Stay in touch, don’t cut yourself off, and be open to any assistance they want to give to help ease your holiday stress. Having a strong, supportive network is as important for you as it is to the person for whom you’re caring.

 

2. Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help

The importance of a strong network of family and friends, even during the healthiest of times, is well established. So, there’s nothing wrong with delegating work and setting a community of support in motion on tasks like meal planning, child- and pet care during appointments, transportation, tackling paperwork, household chores and more. Your supporters want to get involved, but sometimes, they just don’t know how to help. That’s why they’ll actually welcome your specific requests.

 

More suggestions: help you shop, decorate, address greeting cards, make cookies or meals, shovel the walk at home, read emails and holiday cards to your friend or loved one, visit them when you can’t…is that enough to start with?

 

3. Keep Surfing

The more you know, the more prepared you will be. The internet has a wealth of information, online resources and caregiving tips. You’ll find excellent advice and insights on information-rich sites like Today’s Caregiver, Medicare, the Caregiver Action Network and many more.

 

4. Join a Support Group for Caregivers

This is optional, but potentially powerful. Attend a session to see if you like the group’s dynamics, and see how you feel before and after the meeting. To find more information and caregiver groups in your area, check out Daily Strength.

 thanksgiving card design with cute hand print turkeys. I'm thankful for you.

5. Step Back and Appreciate Yourself

Even though your automatic response to the question “How are you doing?” is “I’m good,” you know it’s not always true. Caregiving isn’t easy. It takes extra time, money and emotional capital to help an aging parent, disabled friend or someone who’s recovering from illness or surgery. So if you can’t give yourself a pat on the back, please accept a big one from us.

 

What you do is priceless, and you’re just giving it away, asking nothing in return, not even gas money. For that, my friend, you rock. We celebrate you this month and always, and we hope the tips, suggestions and online resources in this article help you keep all the joyous holiday spirit you deserve.

About the Author:

Sona Mehring is the founder of CaringBridge, the first and most widely used global nonprofit social network dedicated to helping family and friends communicate during a health journey through the use of personal websites. She founded CaringBridge in 1997 when the Internet was just becoming a household name, making her one of the first to recognize that the Internet could be a powerful tool in helping people connect, share and rally support during a health journey. Follow Sona on Twitter @gogosona.

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