The holidays are one of the busiest–and sometimes most stressful– times of the year for caregivers. All the usual pressures and demands on our time and energy often feel like they go into hyper drive between Halloween and New Year’s Day.

The holidays are also the busiest months for first responders as heart attacks, strokes, and accidents spike creating many Sudden Caregivers. *It was actually on Halloween that I noticed Stephens grey skin tone. Three nights later on November 3, 2011 his heart stopped four times.

Besides the obvious aspects of the added family responsibilities and expectations that the Holidays bring, over consumption of calories and imbibing too much alcohol are certainly culprits for health hazards and stress, as are rushed travel, house guests, triggered memories, and more.

The more we are aware of what is contributing to this seasonal stress, the more we can make a difference by taking extra good care of ourselves and the ones we love so much.

What Can We Do?

Slow down. Breathe.

Go to bed early and/or sleep in. Did I mention sleep? Lots of it.

Drink water constantly.

Scale back extravagant gatherings. Have everyone lend a hand and a dish. Or ask another family member to host the traditional holiday meal(s). In other words, recognize and establish your own boundaries and ask for help!

Prepare and eat healthy, delicious foods.

Cook with your friends and family.

Get out and move! Go on walking adventures. Fill your lungs with fresh air.

Drink black tea and coffee for that comforting warm sensation we all crave in the winter months. Go ahead and have a real hot toddy and thoroughly enjoy it—but maybe not have two? 😉

Better yet, make and savor warm vanilla milk.

Give yourself and your body a real gift this season and make a genuine effort to take care of yourself…which will also be the best gift you can give your loved ones.

Remember that small changes work miracles!

God Bless you and your loved ones this holiday season.