How to manage festive anxiety as a carer as online searches for support triples: Whilst most people are able to relax, unwind and enjoy the festive cheer during the Christmas period, Christmas can be a challenging time for carers.
From the responsibilities and worries that come with taking care of a loved one, to additional pressures to join in with the typical expectations of Christmas, many carers are at greater risk of experiencing mental health concerns such as anxiety and stress.
New research from Lottie (a later living marketplace) has found a surge in carers turning to Google to cope with ‘festive anxiety’ as we approach the Christmas period:
- 300% increase in online searches for ‘Christmas anxiety’
- 180% increase in online searches for ‘Christmas stress’
- 175% increase in online searches for ‘Christmas depression’
- 100% increase in online searches for ‘carer anxiety’
“Festive anxiety involves feelings of worry or panic in the run up to Christmas. This can be feeling pressured to attend social events, keep up with traditions to the expense that comes with celebrating Christmas. It’s normal to experience festive anxiety – especially if you have caregiving responsibilities.”, shares Will Donnelly, Care Expert and Co-Founder at Lottie.
“It’s no surprise we’ve seen a surge in carers seeking support during the festive period. Whilst caring for a loved one is very rewarding; it can also be challenging at times and the pressures of caregiving responsibilities can be exacerbated during Christmas. Coupled with a cost of living crisis, carers are under more pressure than ever before this Christmas.
Similarly, whilst the festive season often brings friends and family together, carers are often at greater risk of feeling isolated, as they may be unable to attend social events and plans to arrange caregiving responsibilities. This can often leave carers feeling alone in their caregiving duties, triggering feelings of carer’s guilt.
As a carer it’s important to acknowledge how you feel and make sure you are putting your wellbeing first. Being a carer for a loved one can be both very rewarding and challenging, and it’s normal to feel a range of emotions – especially during the Christmas period.
Remember, it’s okay to take time for yourself during the festive season – from taking time out of your day to unwind and spend time doing the things you enjoy, finding financial, practical, and emotional support or seeking additional care for a carer’s break, become familiar with the support systems available to carers.”
Here’s How To Manage Festive Anxiety As A Carer This Christmas:
1. Plan ahead if you can
Planning your festive schedule in advance can help to ease any worries about balancing celebrations, social events and caregiving responsibilities. Similarly, if your loved one likes to follow a routine, talking to them about the festive season and your plans can help them adjust to any changes to their daily routine.
2. Acknowledge and recognise your feelings
It’s normal to experience a range of emotions as a carer, especially over the Christmas season. However, it’s important to acknowledge how you feel and to not bottle any emotions up – this can leave you feeling under more pressure than before.
Try not to push any feelings aside, allow yourself to recognise and accept the emotions you are feeling in the moment.
3. Take time out of your day for yourself
Take time out of your day to focus on the present moment – this can help to ease any worries about the future.
Try to take slow deep breaths and focus on the present. Focusing on your breathing helps your body to destress and alleviate anxiety. Making time to do something you enjoy such as hobbies and interests are also practical stress management techniques.
4. Share how you’re feeling
Opening up about how you feel can really help – if you’re able to, you can open up to the family member you’re caring for or friends and family. You can work together to find support that works for you and the person you’re caring for.
If you don’t feel comfortable sharing these feelings with friends and family, you can talk to other carers in your area. They will be familiar with what you are going through and may be able to suggest solutions that have worked for them.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for support
As a carer, it’s important you’re able to take time for yourself over the festive period. Don’t be afraid to ask a friend or family member for additional help or support. Most people don’t realise the additional pressures carers face every day, however by opening up to those you trust together you will be able to find support that works for you and your loved one.
6. Access financial help
Christmas is an expensive time of year and can bring additional financial worries on top of caregiving responsibilities. Especially if you have had to give up your career or reduce your working hours. However, you may be able to claim financial support from your local council.
It’s important to become familiar with the support that’s available to you as a carer. Following a carers assessment with your local council, you may be eligible for a carer’s personal budget – also known as Carer’s Allowance. Similarly, you may also be entitled to financial support for additional care services to meet your loved ones needs.