How to Deal with Stressful Times MS Caregivers (Steve’s Corner)

Making it past the holidays and through the winter, this Steve’s Corner article shares insight on how Steve, and other MS Caregivers, can deal with the most stressful times of the year.

MS Caregivers Stress

As we are now past the crazy couple of months that end each year, I look back at ways I tried to reduce the stress from the holidays for my wife, Lisa. (MSlisaSAYS, as you know her)

We will start with Thanksgiving.  I eliminated all stress of company for dinner at our house by working on Thursday and Friday.  OK, that might not work for everybody.  If you do not have the option to work, try to find another place to eat.  Lisa had several invites to attend dinner with others. She chose to stay home and spend the day with her son.  You know how a momma can be when her baby is coming home for dinner, especially a holiday.  Even though I was not there to eat, I cooked the turkey for them and helped to prep some of the other dishes so all Lisa had to do was put things in the oven to heat them up.  I tried to use disposable containers so that there was little clean up, or I would not miss the dish that was taken home.  These small things allowed Lisa to conserve energy and be able to enjoy some quality time with her son.

Next, comes the biggie, Christmas.  Same solution as before, work.  Oops, can’t do that, grandkids want presents.  As with many of you, money was tight.  My advice is to try to save money so you can get an early start.  We did not get started until late this year and Lisa was stressed out trying to make sure everything got here on time. By getting an early start, you can beat the crowds at the stores, space shopping trips out, or use online shopping to eliminate the need for fighting the crowds.  If the need arises to have to get out and hit the stores, go for your loved one if they do not feel like getting out.  Be patient with your loved one. Use as many bags or other containers that do not require wrapping.  This will save a bunch of time and energy.

As for parties for exchanging gifts, get somebody else to host.  This will cut down on the need to have the house spotless before company arrives and clean up when they leave.  If you are required to bring food, try to do most of the work yourself.  Let your loved one rest so they feel good and can enjoy themselves.  Try to have the get together earlier in the evening.  Lisa starts to lose her energy as the sun goes down.

Now comes New Year’s Eve.  You guessed it, WORK.  For me personally, I consider New Year’s Eve amateurs night.  I have no desire to be out in the mess. With Lisa not able to stay up late most days, the need to get out is not there for us.  If you have to get out, try to find a place where you are not being overcrowded.  If you have to leave early, it is midnight somewhere.  If you do not go out have a quiet evening with friends that understand if you call it a night at 9:00.

One of the best ways to eliminate stress for your loved one is to not stress out yourself.  Do as much of the work for them that you are able.  Ask for help where you need it.  Be supportive of your loved ones need to do.   If you feel stressed, walk away for a minute.  Talk to somebody.   Laugh about it, it could be worse.  If none of these things help, pray.  He will give you the strength and patients to deal with whatever it is that is stressing you.

The holidays are not about what you gifts you give or receive.  They are about spending time with family and friends.  If they are true friends, they will understand you not going all out.

I am very sorry that I did not write before the holidays.  I don’t want you to look at it that this advice is late, but instead, I am getting a jump on the holidays for this year.

I pray you are blessed in more ways than you can imagine.  Hang in there; you are not in this alone.  HE will help you. JUST ASK HIM!

Until next time.  I hope this helps or at least put a smile on your face.