Caregivers – Do Something Nice for Yourself this Holiday Season

Brain Injury Blog

If you are a Caregiver Do Something Nice for Yourself this Holiday Season

by Janelle Breese Biagioni

Caregiving is extremely taxing. People do it out of love and they want to take care of their loved one, but the strain and toll it takes on the caregiver’s life is real and should not be overlooked. I know we are raised to NOT be selfish, but sometimes that is exactly what we need to do. Carving out some time alone is often the only way to recharge your batteries. And, we know how exhausting the holiday season can be so as a caregiver, you may feel it even more so.

Between now and the holidays, choose one day that you claim for just you. Use it as a ‘mental health’ day; a time to rejuvenate body, mind and soul. It’s okay to plan something with a friend; however, if you think you can do it, I would recommend going solo. That doesn’t mean that you have to isolate yourself, but minimizing distractions (shopping) or chatting with others won’t give you the break that is needed.

It may take some planning for those who do not live alone. It may not be feasible to claim 24 hours for yourself either. If that is reflective of your situation, claim at least four hours. Make arrangements with family or friends or healthcare professionals to provide the care for your loved one. If you cannot be alone in your home, then leave everyone else at home and you go someplace where you can experience silence and time with yourself.

Here are some suggestions:

In Your Own Home:

  • Arrange to be home alone
  • Turn off the telephone (land line and cell phone) – notify those who may worry about you that you are taking some time to be quiet and reflective. Ensure them that you will contact them when you turn the phones back on.
  • Leave the television and radio off. Music is fine; however a radio station will be distracting with commercials and chatter.
  • Have a supply of tissue, herb teas, and light foods on hand
  • Plan to wear your most comfortable clothing ~ perhaps treat yourself to a new pair of pyjamas to lounge in all day
  • Light the fire place or keep a soft comforter/blanket on hand
  • Keep a notebook or journal  close by to record any reflections or thoughts you may have
  • Read a book or magazines
  • Daydream
  • Draw or paint
  • Play a musical instrument
  • You do not have to ‘think’ ~ allow your thoughts to come to you. Reflect, sleep, and/or meditate
  • Feel what you need to feel
  • Before reconnecting with your loved ones, have a nice warm bath or shower, get dressed in a favourite outfit that makes you feel ‘alive’
  • Smile and know that you just did something very special for yourself

If You Need to go Outside Your Home

  • Make arrangements for your family and trust they will be taken care of. You have not abandoned them, you are just taking a mini-break
  • Take a cell phone but turn it off. Let people know they can leave a message and you will check your voicemail once or twice during the outing (and stick to it)
  • Take a pen and journal or notebook with you to record any thoughts or reflections
  • Borrow a friend’s house for the day while they are working; ask them to turn their telephone off so you won’t be disturbed or go to places that offer quiet and an opportunity to reflect (church, museum, walk a labyrinth, a park, lake or ocean, walking or hiking trails)
  • Draw or paint
  • Go to a spa (just politely let the staff know that you going to rest and not engage in conversation) and enjoy a steam bath, massage, facial, manicure or pedicure
  • Go swimming at a local rec centre – take in a hot tub

December 13, 2011

One response to “Caregivers – Do Something Nice for Yourself this Holiday Season”

  1. It’s so important for caregivers to remember to care for themselves – this often doesn’t make the “to do” list but may be the most critical job for a caregiver to remember. Thanks for the reminder.

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