Thursday, December 1, 2011

Relax, Prioritize and Enjoy Your Holiday Season

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and got to spend some quality time with loved ones. As we move into the major holiday season, stress and panic are two words that come to mind quickly. This is especially true of those involved in caregiving situations and those in the sandwich generation between being son or daughter and mom or dad as well as just being you and all that that entails.

Take time every single day to stop and close your eyes and take a few deep breaths -- in through your nose and out through your mouth. This doesn't take long and can be done several times a day. Deep breathing helps to improve your circulation. It will relax you and help clear your mind. When you feel the stress building or panic sneaking up to overcome you. STOP!! Close your eyes and breath deeply. It will help to stall the stress or panic and allow you to gain control over the situation again.

If you already have a great relaxation routine be sure to practice it regularly. And if you don't, these deep breathing moments can help you to begin to find a way to stop the dreaded stress and panic that can steal time and precious memories.

Make lists and prioritize tasks. As you cross them off your list, re-prioritize as the importance of some items may have changed. See which items you can delegate to someone else or work together to accomplish. Look at you list with an eye to how important in the long scheme of things this matter will be five years from now...that just might change how urgent it can seem right now. And then again it may add importance to the matter, but remember to prioritize things.

Another important tip to remember is to figure out which things you pushed to the bottom of the list because you really dread doing them. Sometimes if you get some of these things done first, the rest of your To-Do list seems much easier and less stressful. The more we procrastinate doing something we dread, the more it weighs us down knowing we have to get to it eventually. We don't really have a chance to enjoy the things in between because we have this nagging task lurking out there somewhere. Just do it and move on. It will take a huge load off your shoulders when you do. Or see if someone is willing to share the burden and work with you to get it done.

Caregiving can be a very thankless job. So be sure to build in some little rewards for yourself on a regular basis. Look for silver linings, but also make sure you get a little time to enjoy something you like to do too. Take time to read, watch TV, or rent a movie. Hire some respite care if needed and get out for a meal.

As the holidays approach, it's a time for reflection. Encourage family members who may be gathering to bring a list of questions fro your elder(s) to discuss. These may be directly related to your family, or just things in general. The population in their 80's plus has seen a lot in their lifetime. They didn't grow up with television, they listened to the radio. They saw air travel develop. They lived through the Great Depression. How did it compare to our economic situation now? They lived through several wars and may have been in the armed services. There's no better source of history than first hand information. Take the opportunity to fill in a few gaps. Record your conversations. And perhaps if you have several elders present you'll get a collection of history to pass on.

Most of all take time to enjoy the holiday season!!



photo from morguefile.com