4 Secrets on Avoiding Negative Emotional Triggers as a Family Caregiver
The post-holiday blues should be kicking in right about now. As a family caregiver, you want to avoid triggering negative emotions. Yes, the excitement and wonders of the holiday season are over. As a family caregiver, you may have been able to see family and friends. You may also have been able to get extra help for your loved one. As a result, you may have had a chance to enjoy the holidays and get some time to yourself. While many considered it the most wonderful time of the year, once the holidays are over, it can lead to depression and stress. As a result, the mixture of caring for a loved one can make it that more complicated coupled with anxiety for some.
Oftentimes, the post-holiday season can trigger negative emotions. This can occur for those who have the responsibility of taking care of a loved one. We would like to share some of our top strategies to keep the post-holiday blues away!
Make Plans Ahead of Time
Planning out what needs to get done and when will lift an immense amount of stress from your shoulders. Ensure that you incorporate aspects of relaxation into those plans. In addition, get in the habit of setting intentions to tend to your needs, along with getting things done. Take time to read a few chapters, enjoy a podcast, or even take a mental break with a puzzle or crossword. Write these down too, not only will it feel good to do, but it’ll feel good to cross it off the list as well. Take the things you enjoy and make them a priority during this time of year.
Focus on the Positives
Make it a habit to write down 3 things that you are grateful for at the beginning or end of each day. Focus on positive people as well! Spend time with loved ones who lift you up, and take space from those who do not. Focus on positive experiences and joys, and put the things that bring stress on the back burner. If you’re feeling a little trapped and surrounded by family members who may not be helpful, take time to do something to get your mind off the negative. Text a friend and take space from them. Post holidays can build tension with family members you don’t necessarily see eye to eye with. A positive action plan would be to write down your feelings. When you are in a good space speak to your family members about how they can help in the caregiving of your loved one.
Our beautiful friend and corporate influencer, Gregory L. Johnson, Emblem Health’s Chief Advisor for Family Caregiving – Office of the CEO shares his insight with us. He states, “You need to start by grounding yourself in the present moment. I believe that you need to look at all the positives around you, big or small. This will give you a sense of empowerment. As a family caregiver you are empowered every day so focus on the good and don’t feel alone as we are here to support you.”
Prioritize your Mental Health
Your mental health is crucial to everything in your life. You need to prioritize it! When it comes to the post-holiday blues, make sure that you are sleeping enough and eating the foods you need to. If you need to go for a run to remain calm and collected, then you take that run around the block to feel your best. If you have only a few minutes to meditate take it. Relive those moments of joy and love and keep your mental health in check. You won’t be able to efficiently take care of anyone else’s needs if you haven’t taken care of your own. It may seem like a selfish notion to put yourself first, but it is necessary in ensuring that you remain afloat. This will help improve the overall experience for the whole family.
Gregory L. Johnson states, “When I’m really feeling low I get myself involved in helping someone else and I’m very grateful for it. Support groups are a great way to get involved and meet others in the same circumstances. Check out the resources available in your area or online.”
Prioritize your General Health
Your general health is crucial to everything in your life as well. Caring for others can sometimes take a big toll on your health. Make sure your physicals are up to date. 1 out of 4 family caregivers finds it difficult to take care of their own health. And a similar report states caregiving has made their health worse. You want to ensure you are getting checked for diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions. Being proactive is a great approach. It’s better to prevent something than to treat it. Also, immunizations should be updated from time to time, and going to a physical exam is one way to do this.
It can be easy to succumb to the post-holiday blues, but when you focus your mindset on the positive aspects and less on the aspects that cause you to stress, the easier it becomes. As a bonus, consider your light exposure to avoid the onset of Seasonal Depression as well. Spend more time outdoors (even when it’s chilly) and get sunlight as much as possible to receive adequate vitamin D and other essential nutrients.
You cannot pour from an empty cup so it is important to control negative emotions and take care of yourself. Family caregivers have a lot on their plate and we thank you for all you do. You are very special individuals and you must remember that each and every day.
Gregory L. Johnson adds, “Family caregivers are people of light and love in the lives of so many. CAREGIVERS……ARE LIVING THE GOLDEN RULE…….AND THE WORLD IS BLESSED. Onward in love and caring”