Self-Care Tips for Family Caregivers During the Holiday Season

November is National Family Caregivers Month – Give thanks to those that give every day.  

In November, we all celebrate Thanksgiving.  We all identify with those things that we may take for granted through the year, such as our health, our loved ones, pets and even our favorite dish.  It is no surprise then, that November is also National Caregivers Month.  Caregivers deserve a grand amount of thanksgiving for the time and devotion that they take out of their lives and use it to unselfishly help those in need.  Caregivers help those in their family with special needs, weather that be a child with chronic health concerns or an adult relative that needs additional attention.  Many caregivers do not regularly receive gratitude for all that they do; some have no other choice or are expected to be the family caregiver.  This causes their emotional gas tank can become pretty low.  For those of you that know of a family caregiver, do not forget to tell them how much they are appreciated and offer to help when they need some time to themselves.   

For those who are Family caregivers, here are 5 tips to help refuel during the stressful holiday season: 

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help 

  • For whatever reason, many people attempt to be superman/woman and try and do everything for everyone all the time.  Many people think it is a weakness to ask for help, and this can end up resenting those who would gladly help you if they knew that it was needed.   Many times I, myself am trying to get so much done, it never occurs to me that I should ask others, even for simple things, dropping off a package, picking up something from the store, etc.  

  • Ask questions  

  • Sometimes the best way to alleviate anxiety about a situation is to know as much information as possible.  If you are caring for someone, reading up on their ailments and asking questions when at doctor appointments may actually help you.  When at the doctor’s make sure to know what a dangerous symptom is and what is normal.   

  • Get support  

  • Join a local support group. There are so many resources that are presented in support groups that are not otherwise available to the sick and their caregivers, such as new treatment ideas, doctor recommendations, and state funded support.  Having a support system of people that truly understand what you are going through is also extremely helpful in helping one feel less isolated.   

  • Sleep  

  • Sleep is one of the most important parts of your health.  When you lose sleep, your body does not “get used to it” as is often thought.  Your body will actually go into a “sleep debt”, which at some point; you will have to refill to regain your health.  Sometimes the stress of carrying for a loved one can make sleep difficult.  If you are a caretaker and have problems getting to sleep even though you are exhausted at night try taking the homeopathic remedy Cocculus Indicus 30c, 2-3 pellets before bed.  This is a safe, effective form of medicine that helps balance your sleep cycle.   

  • Don’t neglect your own health  

While you are caring for someone else’s health, remember that you deserve good health too!  Lack of sleep, stress over another’s well-being, eating on the run and not getting enough exercise are ways in which your health can become depleted.  Remember, as they say on the airlines before a flight, secure your own oxygen mask first, and then help those around you in need.   

Dr. NatalieComment