7 Gifts Family Caregivers Should Give Themselves This Holiday Season
The gift-giving season usually focuses on doing for others, but if you’re a caregiver, you spend most of the year focused on giving to others. This holiday season, in the midst of your holiday shopping for your loved ones, take some time to focus on yourself.
If you’re not in the habit of thinking about ways to treat yourself, here are a few ideas for gifts to give yourself this holiday season and into the year to come:
1. A set time to work out.
The best gifts to yourself this time of year will be ones you can benefit from for months to come. One to consider is a commitment to physical fitness. If you can find just a couple hours a week to commit to a class at your gym or a half hour each day to commit to a workout at home, the exercise can benefit your long-term health and improve your energy levels.
It doesn’t have to be a lot of time for it to make a big difference, so figure out a realistic chunk of time each day or week that you can claim for exercise and let everyone know it’s set in stone on the calendar moving forward, barring emergencies.
2. Comfortable bedding.
A good night’s sleep is important for both your mental and physical health. When you’re overwhelmed and overworked, it can get harder to reliably get to sleep each night and get your full eight hours in. One way you can make those important hours a little nicer is by investing in nice bedding.
Go ahead and find some comfortable pillows and soft sheets for yourself. It’s a relatively affordable way to make your nights more comfortable and hopefully get the sleep you really need. If it’s been a while since you last bought a mattress, it might be time to invest in a new one of those as well. That’s more expensive, but it can potentially make a big difference to how well you sleep, which makes the cost well worth it.
3. Daily meditation.
Research confirms that meditation can help reduce anxiety and stress. Like therapy, it won’t make all the stressors in your life go away, but it will help you gain more control over how you feel about them and approach them each day. You can look into meditation classes in your community, or try something more accessible like the Headspace app.
This is a simple thing you can do once a week or for a few minutes a day that can help make much of what’s difficult in your life feel a little easier. That makes it another of the gifts on this list that will keep giving.
4. Food delivery subscription.
You have a lot of chores to deal with each day. That makes regular errands like grocery shopping harder to fit in and more stressful to deal with. But modern technology has made it easy to take that particular item off your to-do list. You can subscribe to food delivery services that will bring fresh food straight to your door.
This could either be a grocery delivery service, so you can cover all your household needs, or it could be a meal delivery service that provides all the ingredients to make specific recipes or even pre-made meals. Many services are even focused on providing specifically healthy meals, so they can help you keep up with any resolutions you have this year to eat healthier. Whatever route you choose, this is an option that can save you time and make one of your everyday responsibilities (feeding yourself and your loved one) that much easier.
5. Time off.
When you spend a big part of your day caring for others, stuff quickly starts to look less important to you than time. Possibly the most important gift you could give to yourself this month is arranging for some time off. Talk to your loved ones to see if they can pitch in to take over the caregiving for a day or two so you can give yourself a day off to do whatever’s most relaxing for you – a day on the couch, a trip to the movies, or a visit to the masseuse.
If a day off doesn’t feel like enough, look into respite care. You can find somebody to take over care for a week or more and give yourself a proper vacation. Wouldn’t that make a great holiday gift for yourself?
For too long, people saw therapy as something shameful. But it’s really not. It can be useful for just about anybody to talk to a trained therapist to better process what’s going on in your life and figure out methods for facing the challenges you have.
Caregivers face a lot of challenges. If you frequently feel overwhelmed, sometimes find yourself getting angry with the person you care for, or just have days where you feel hopeless about getting everything done – therapy won’t make your problems go away, but it will equip you to face them better. Do some research into the therapists in your area and consider giving yourself the gift of advice from someone trained to help.
7. Quality time with your loved one.
If you spend all your time taking care of someone, the work involved can start to take over your relationship. You don’t want to switch from seeing your loved one as someone dear to you to seeing them as a collection of chores you have to do each day. But if you’re not actively devoting time to enjoying each other’s company, that’s a real risk.
Make a point to devote some of the time you spend together each day to doing activities you both like together and keeping the connection strong. Find a TV show you both like that you can sit together and enjoy, or go for daily walks together if they’re still able. This is one item on the list that won’t just be a gift for you; both you and your loved one will benefit.
The holiday season is often stressful, but you can choose a gift for yourself that will help you ease stress in the year to come. Treat yourself this year so you can keep up the work you do going into the New Year.