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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN / Happy Holidays Day / Editorial List

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Happy Holidays Day

As we enter the 2013 holiday season next week with both Thanksgiving and Hanukkah falling on the same day (turkey matzo balls?), we caregivers are putting our own personal holiday checklist in place. Ensuring that our holiday decorations are placed with our loved ones’ safety in mind (check), creating special holiday menus for our loved ones (check), enlisting the support of family members who will be celebrating with us (well, we can hope!). But as many of us do, you probably forgot the most important item on the list – caring for you. I know, I know, caring for you during the holiday season is sometimes more of a challenge than caring for a loved one. But for your sake and the sake of your loved ones, it should be at the top of the checklist.

So, let’s run through some self-care tips.

  • Give yourself some gifts by letting your friends help you. When someone asks, “Can I do anything for you?” give him or her something to do. Let your friend run an errand or stay with your loved one while you take a break and get out on your own.

  • Keep the romance alive. Couples facing caregiving situations are apt to forget to nurture the relationship that brought them together up to this point. These relationships need just as much, if not more, attention as they did before.

  • The motto "Everything in moderation" should be your guide through the holidays. There are many temptations throughout the season—alcohol, sweets and rich food. Go ahead. Have some (I said “some.”) Just don't over-indulge. It may make you sick or uncomfortable—something caregivers can rarely afford.

  • Be prepared for unexpected circumstances. Something may come up, and probably will, so what can you do? If you can, change the situation. If you can't, accept it and move on. You cannot control life no matter how planned out you believe you have things. Remember to see the humor in a situation when you can. It will really help defuse the stress.

  • Try to keep up on your regular exercise routine, or start one, during the holidays. Walking five times a week is a great way to stay in shape. There is also something about pounding the pavement that helps release frustrations and clears your head. If you are looking out your window and the snow is flurrying and drifting, find an alternative. Many health clubs have indoor tracks. If that doesn't appeal to you, check with the nearest shopping mall. Some open early just for walkers.

  • Keep setting goals. Before you were a caregiver, you set personal goals. Your life did not end because you became a caregiver. When the caregiver duties subside, you should not “return” to your life, you should continue with your life.

Now, if we could only add Christmas to next week’s celebration, we could have the holidays done in one fell swoop. I just don’t know how well pumpkin and candy cane knishes will go over.


Gary Barg

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