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Happy holidays to the caregivers

Posted December 25, 2013 in Altoona, Advice Column, Pleasant Hill

Tis the season for decking the halls and roasting chestnuts over an open fire (I mean really, has anyone done that?) as well as shopping frantically for the “perfect” present, decorating cookies and, of course, indulging in fruitcake — you know who you are.

In between all of the holiday festivities, you are more than likely juggling your career, taking care of kids and grandkids and providing care and oversight for your elderly parents or loved one. No wonder you feel stressed and burned out.  This could be taking a toll on your health. After all, you can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of you.

So I’m talking to you wonderful caregivers — be sure to take some time to take care of yourself during this wonderful, but hectic, Christmas season by following a few tips:

• Don’t be afraid to say no. You just can’t do it all. Healthy boundaries are important, and don’t feel guilty if you have to decline requests.

• Make some time for you. Whether it’s a cup of coffee with a friend, time alone with a good book or just a nice long, hot bath, be sure to take a few minutes to recharge your batteries.

• Stressed out? Work out!  It’s amazing what a brisk 15-minute walk can do to relieve stress. Exercise is a positive outlet for caregiver frustration.

• Ask for help. Now this might be the hardest for many of you, but chances are you have friends or family who would be more than willing to help you run that errand, wrap that gift or bring a hot dish to your family gathering. Don’t be afraid to ask and graciously accept.

There are a lot of wonderful websites for caregivers — one I would highly recommend is www.caregiver.com. It is full of information — check it out.

Merry Christmas, caregivers.  You are so appreciated.

May God bless you, and thanks for everything you do.

Information provided by Shelly Charter, Valley View Village, 2571 Guthrie Ave., Des Moines, 265-2571.

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