Coping at Christmas

Christmas is a time of joy, fun and celebrations for many.  However for unpaid carers it can also be demanding, busy and stressful.  You may struggle to rest and symptoms of anxiety and stress can increase greatly at this time of year.

Here are some tips for helping you to cope better over the festive period.  And remember, Christmas doesn’t have to be ‘perfect’.  Try not to compare your day with those that you see in glossy magazines and on TV adverts.  Take the pressure off by not setting yourself high expectations.


Plan ahead

Be prepared.  Try to do as much as you can in advance.  Shop online if this is easier or shop local to avoid trips to larger shops.

It may help to stagger visitors if you care for someone in your home.  Start some simple conversations with family and friends and make them aware of how much you can realistically manage and what routines you need to keep to.  Set boundaries and remember you have the right to say no.

Check out opening times for GPs, your local pharmacy etc.  Sort out repeat prescriptions early and keep a list to hand of emergency contact numbers.  This helps you feel more in control.

Take time out

This can be tricky at any time of the year but looking after yourself is vitally important.

Practice self-care – take a long hot bath, go for a walk or just simply sit for 5 minutes with a cup of tea.  Do something that relaxes you and practise this regularly.

If family or friends have offered to give you a break then accept and use this time to rest and recharge.  Don’t feel guilty, be kind to yourself and recognise that you need, and deserve, a break.

Try to have some fun and give yourself a break from some of the ‘normal’ things you have to do.  It may just be watching a comedy film or playing a silly game.  Laughter is a great way to lift your spirits.

Ask for help

Delegate to others.  Let someone else bring the pudding for example or pick up some little gifts for you.  Sharing the tasks helps lighten the load.

If finances are tight don’t go overboard with gifts.  Perhaps suggest Secret Santa to reduce the amount you need to buy or agree a price limit with family and friends.  Homemade gifts are always nice to receive and can work out a lot cheaper.

If you find you cannot keep to your plans on any day, then don’t feel guilty about changing them. Prioritise what is important for you do.

Talk to someone you trust if you are struggling.  Christmas can evoke a lot of feelings and emotions. Reach out if you need support, this may be from professionals or from family and friends.  It may surprise you to know that you are not the only one that finds this time of year difficult.

And lastly…

Remember the Carers Centre is open as normal.  If you need to call then please do so.  A duty worker can offer a kind, listening ear if needed. 

Myself, and all the staff at Angus Carers Centre wish you a pleasant Christmas and New Year.



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