It’s an exhausting time of year for many of us, particularly for caregivers in the sandwich generation (those caring for kids and seniors). In addition to the usual stress of caregiving tasks, there are the added responsibilities of holiday parties, shopping, gift wrapping, travel, baking, and irregularities in the schedule due to school and business closures — which may mean rearranging childcare or rescheduling regular doctor’s appointments. All of these things can easily translate to caregiver exhaustion. As a result, some may be secretly looking forward to the holiday season’s end.
Yes, there is joyful music, there are bright lights, and there are festive gatherings, but the season can also be a rather depressing time for those grieving the loss of a spouse, partner, or other loved ones.
Yet another reason to look forward to January 2.
The last thing on most caregivers’ minds this time of year is planning a vacation. They may need a break desperately, and they may be thinking, “I need a vacation after this,” but they are certainly not going to add one more thing to the to-do list. Plus, it’s the holidays, and everyone should be together, they think to themselves. In this way, many caregivers ignore their own health needs and feel guilty for even entertaining the idea of a getaway.
However, there are options for caregivers in this situation. Some assisted living communities offer short-term/respite stays, and home care agencies can send a caregiver for even just a few hours a week. If you are feeling exhausted before the Christmas countdown even begins, reach out for help, take a break, and do something good for yourself. Your health depends on it… and so do the people for whom you’re caring.