#7 - Caregiver Holiday Survival Tip: Mind Your Holiday Mindset
With the pandemic and other issues in the news coming at us this year, it could be easy to get dragged down into negativity about the holidays. That's why my next tip is:
Mind Your Holiday Mindset
Negative thinking actually activates your body's stress response, so steer your mind to the positives when you start down that slippery slope. Try to stay mindful, concentrating on the present moment. It does take a conscious effort sometimes, to willfully re-direct our minds from the fearful and negative thoughts. But over time I find it gets easier.
Focus on what you can accomplish and experience instead of what you can't do this year or what isn’t getting done due to caregiving. Play those things up - FULLY experience them and relish every moment.
Celebrate what your loved ones can do, rather than dwelling on what they can no longer participate in. The pandemic may limit things they can do and their health conditions may also limit their abilities, so zero in on what they are still able to do. When my Dad could no longer help decorate the Christmas tree, he could still sit there and enjoy the holiday music and comment on the beauty of an ornament or be delighted when the lights came on. So I focused on those things.
Revel in the holiday joys you experience instead of focusing on those you bypass. Accept that it will be different this year but that doesn't have to mean it will be bad. I like to think about the more simple times when people didn't spend so much money and the holidays were celebrated in smaller ways.
Appreciate the help you are receiving rather than resenting those who aren't supportive. Your family members may not be able to help as much this year, due to the pandemic, but you can still appreciate anything they can do. People can shop for you, put up outside decorations, bring meals, pay for you to rent a holiday movie, or send cards and letters.
How do you adjust your mindset when you start to go into a negativity spiral? I always envision myself reeling my thoughts back in (like a fishing rod)!