As much as we love the holidays, they can be extra stressful when you’re a caregiver for a loved one with mesothelioma. In fact, for all caregivers the joy of the holidays comes packaged with the stress of all the things that you need to get done because the people who you care about expect you to. The expectations of making the holidays memorable can get you down if you’re not feeling up to the task.
We at Mesothelioma Circle sometimes cringe when we hear the popular Christmas song, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” The lyrics go, “There’ll be parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting
and caroling out in the snow.” Sounds like a lot of work to us. The guy singing the song sounds so darn happy because he’s not the one at home trying to prepare for the party, get the marshmallows ready and find everyone’s scarves, gloves and boots so they can go caroling out in the snow.
For those caring for mesothelioma patients and simultaneously trying to make the season merry and bright, here are some tips on coping with holiday stress from one of our favorite books, The Comfort of Home, An Illustrated Step-by-Step Guide for Caregivers:
- List priorities, decide what to leave undone
- Delegate jobs to others. Keep a list of tasks you need to have done and assign specific ones to people who offer to help.
- Let yourself cry and sob.
- Find time for regular exercise to increase your energy level.
- Realize your own limitations and accept them.
- Make sure your goals are realistic – you may be unable to do everything you could do before.
- Concentrate on getting relaxed sleep rather than more sleep.
- Set aside time for prayer or reflection.
- Share your concerns and dilemmas with a friend.
- Use respite care when needed.
- Keep up with friends and go to holiday parties.
- Claim time for yourself.
- Allow yourself to feel the emotions you feel without guilt. They are natural and human.
- Allow your self esteem to rise because you have discovered hidden skills and talents.
- Communicate honestly and openly with those you feel should do more to help.
- Know that you are providing very special gifts to those you love by all you do not what you buy or bake.