While Christmas can be fun, it can also be exhausting and challenging - especially if you’re a carer for someone with disability. It’s not always easy finding time to have a well-earned break.
To help you through the next couple of weeks and into the festive season, we asked our community to share their best tips to help you reset and take a breath.
- Simplify - Christmas doesn’t have to be perfect (especially after all we’ve been through this year). Take the pressure off and keep things as simple as possible.
- Plan - If the person you provide care for is happier with routine, build the Christmas period around everyday activities such as mealtimes. Share a calendar showing your itinerary with family and support workers, so they know what’s on the agenda. Look back at past Christmases and learn from the things that worked back then.
- Ask for help - Be realistic about what you can and can’t do. If you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to ask for support. If you try and do everything yourself, it’s easy to burn out. Friends and family may be happy to take on some of your tasks and caring duties.
- Check Christmas open times for your local GP, pharmacy and any other services you rely on. Operating hours may change during the Christmas period.
- Rest up and take time for yourself. If you’ve been able to delegate some of your caring responsibilities, map out some ‘you’ time. Maybe have a relaxing bath, spend time reading, walking or chatting with friends. You could even organise some formal respite care.
- Carers with children – Yes, children love Christmas. But as adults, we tend to put ourselves last and let the young ones have all the fun. Make sure you save some fun for yourself - it’s your Christmas too.
- Carers with older people – Elderly people can sometimes feel neglected on Christmas day. Think of some ways to include them, such as asking them to lay the table or help prepare a meal.
- Remember to practice gratitude – The silly season can bring out the best and worst in people. If family or friends are testing your nerves, just breathe and be thankful to have them in your life. They may also be feeling overwhelmed.
- Be kind to yourself – When you’re tired and physically exhausted, it’s a challenge taking care of yourself, let alone anyone else. Take care of number one first and you’ll be in a better position to take care of others.
- Have a laugh - Christmas is about reconnecting and enjoying time with family, so have some fun. Wear a stupid hat or daggy Christmas jumper, play a board game and share the (often appalling) jokes from your Christmas crackers. They say laughter is the best medicine and a healthy way to lift spirits!
- Eat, drink and be merry – All in moderation of course! (And try to keep moving )
- Treasure every moment – Christmas can be a difficult time. It’s not for everybody. However you choose to spend it, focus on the positive things and find some joy amongst the madness.
If you need support at any time please reach out to:
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Mental Health Emergency Response Line: 1300 555 788
Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636
Men’s Line: 1300 789 978