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Health Tip: Advice to Caregivers During the Holidays

Take care of yourself so you can take care of others

(HealthDay News) -- For caregivers, the holiday season can create even more stress. There are more things to get done, and a greater sense of loss of the things you and your loved one used to do, according to the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services.

But there are things caregivers can do to feel a little better. Here are some suggestions from the department:

  • When you are caring for others, taking care of yourself and your own needs is essential so you can provide care for an extended period time.
  • Eat nutritious meals -- enjoy holiday treats, but don't give in to stress-driven urges for lots of sweets.
  • Get enough sleep. If you are awakened at night, try napping during the day.
  • Exercise regularly. Try to find someone to exercise with -- it will keep you going.
  • Treat depression. If you have any symptoms of depression (extreme sadness, trouble concentrating, apathy, hopelessness, thoughts about death), see a doctor.
  • Maintain or establish social contacts. This may require advance planning, but it's worth it. Isolation increases stress, while having fun, laughing and focusing on something beside your problems can help you keep your emotional balance.
  • Call on your friends and relatives for help.
  • Most of all, feel good about your accomplishments as a caregiver.
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