Friday, November 1, 2013

Gobble & Fa-La-La - 'Tis the Season to Get Stressful !

Ok - so you have your own stash of candy carefully hidden after Halloween, in a secret place where you can get sugared up and find nirvana at the same time. The wine has been carefully chosen (the story is that you want to sample some wines early so you can plan the Thanksgiving Day dinner in advance and make it the 'best day ever'). Phineas & Ferb would be so proud! The bottle of aspirin or ibuprofen is handy, has been since the creation of those superhero or princess costumes or the running around for the perfect 'look'.

Caregiver to caregiver - we know the real story!!! Down the homestretch, we see the next 2 holidays wherever we go. Between the foods and dinner ideas to the decorations and reminders of gift lists, we start to get bleary-eyed. OH BOY - how many directions can I get pulled in this year!!
As much as we like to handle things ourselves, to make sure things get done 'right' or 'just the way mom or dad likes it', we as caregivers need to let others into our world and help.

The Sams Club November/December 2013 Magazine has an article on 'Seasonal Stress' written by Michele Mongillo, RN, MSN. It acknowledges all the stressors that affect families: gatherings to plan, buying gifts, cooking for groups, organized activities. Of course all these are on top of the normal everyday, more personal tasks that need to get done for our elderly parents or special needs child. Michele has what are called 'tools and tactics' you can use to help relieve the stress.

*** COMMUNICATION: open the conversation with other family members about limited time to participate in some activities. Ask for help so you can accomplish your own tasks. When you send holiday cards, put in a note to say your time may be limited due to caregiving. Suggest other family members have the family meal at their home. Sometimes people are waiting to be asked to help, they may not want to intrude on your privacy.
*** PREPARATION: shop online for gifts or save catelogs that come through the mail so you can identify presents and go straight to the store to get them thus saving time wandering. Cook or bake things that can be frozen ahead of time. Check your calender for those days you need time off and ask a friend or family member to help. If that can't be done, try a local agency.
*** ENJOYMENT: make a choice and find a holiday tradition to 'keep' and let some others go; focus on those to make them memorable for all. Take time for yourself - exercise, get a massage, take time to slow down and just enjoy your loved one.

These next months need to be enjoyable for all. They can be with a little planning and recruitment from friends and family to stop in for a 'visit' so you can leave. Lastly - don't forget where you put the candy and wine. I'm not sure how much it helps at times but it certainly can't hurt in moderation.

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