You have decorated the house, planned the menu, and negotiated a matrix of family visits. Time to relax, put your feet up, and enjoy the holidays, right?
The holidays bring challenges that can build stress in any household. Pile on a group of folks you love, but haven’t seen since pre-pandemic days, and you could have a recipe for stress, especially for caregivers of wounded veterans.
Before you shy away from human interaction, let’s think about ways to take it all in stride and build pleasant memories with your loved ones.
“There are positive steps you can take to reduce your stress level as a caregiver,” said Erika Myers, WWP Talk manager at Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). Erika and team provide free, weekly emotional support calls to help veterans and caregivers cope with invisible wounds throughout the year. She walked us through some steps to minimize stress during the holidays, specifically for caregivers.
In short, have realistic expectations and encourage the same for your veteran, children, and parents. There’s joy in keeping things simple.
Above all, keep the communication open with your veteran. Talk about how you both feel. Have small check-ins with each other. And it’s OK to talk about an exit plan to leave grandmother’s house early. If things get uncomfortable, give each other “the look,” and make an early exit for a quieter setting.
As a caregiver, you do deserve meaningful connections. You do deserve care and pampering. It’s OK to have boundaries. It’s OK to not have the “perfect” holiday party. Joy can be found in the imperfect times when you speak your mind and connect with someone on a different wavelength.
If you see signs of stress, reach out for help. First, talk to someone you trust. For your second line of defense, call the WWP Resource Center for assistance and referrals: 1-888-WWPALUM (997.2586).
If necessary, reach out to the VA crisis line before things escalate: 1.800.273.8255 and press “1.” You can also text 838255 to Veterans Crisis Line to chat live with a crisis counselor at any time.
Contact: Raquel Rivas – Public Relations, firstname.lastname@example.org, 904.426.9783
About Wounded Warrior Project
Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition. Learn more.