The holiday season has officially begun with Thanksgiving! A wonderful time to see family members or loved ones that you might not have seen for a while and eat a few servings of your favourite dish! However, it can be quite an overwhelming time and your healthy habits can be put aside until January.
During the holiday period living with dementia can be very challenging as people are coming and going, so the structure to your day has been removed and disrupted.
Here are some of our tips that help us improve our wellbeing during the holiday period:
Stick to a routine:
Sticking to your usual routine can be difficult over the holiday period as you have more people popping in to visit or even supermarkets have the products in different sections. It can make things more stressful or confusing, but it is important to stick to a general routine even if they are very small habits.
Keeping active is vital to a better wellbeing, if you already incorporate this into your day then try to keep it up. Although the weather might be colder, try to take a brisk walk around the block so that you can breathe some fresh air and spend time in nature.
Prepare loved ones, family and friends:
Speak to people that are visiting about what is currently happening and ask them to please be aware of how you are feeling or what would make you more at ease. It can also be important to speak with children about what is going on with their loved ones to avoid any
uncomfortable feelings for the child but also the person living with dementia.
Focus on your feelings:
Acknowledging feelings can be helpful during this time, whether you are spending the holidays differently than usual or finding it difficult to have so many people around you at once. Take a deep breath and see how you are feeling in that moment, acknowledge it and let it be.
Create a quiet space:
Attending a family gathering might be too overwhelming, creating a quiet area that can be used when feeling anxious or stressed can be useful to help relax.
Finding gratitude even in the smallest moments, can help to shift your mood and make you feel more positive. Try to practice this every morning and find something that brought you gratitude, relish in that moment and see how you feel!
Reach out and ask for help:
If you are spending the holidays on your own, reach out to your support system by setting up a call during the day or visiting a support group. It is important to speak to someone when you are feeling low. Remember you are never truly alone, when living with dementia it can feel hopeless at points but always ask for help.
Remember what the holiday season is all about…
This holiday might be slightly different and not how you expected to celebrate it but look for the little moments, whether that is a smile from a friend or a happy holiday from a stranger. There are many moments of joy that you can find during the holiday period but it is important to look after your self-care.