This festive season won’t be typical for anyone, but for those carers looking after someone with Epilepsy, it could be one of the most challenging months of this year yet.
Covid has brought many social rules and fears, and you, as a carer might be feeling even more isolated, alone and stressed than any other time of this year, whilst you try to look after your loved one and yourself. Add to this money pressures, buying presents, making sure you have enough food in the house, medicine prescriptions and worrying about who would look after your loved one if you became sick.
So, to help your own wellbeing this festive season, we’ve compiled 12 days of tips to help you alleviate the added pressure felt around the festive period:
On the first day of Christmas make a safety plan
Write down what triggers there could be in your home, which could cause a seizure, then minimise the risk. For example, flashing tree lights – maybe this Christmas just put them on static display.
Routines, routines, routines
It’s easy to fall out of routine this month, but try to stick to some normality and remember to stay in a route and deliver medication at the same time, each time.
Stock up on medication
Don’t get caught out by changes in opening hours with GP’s and Chemists, make sure you have enough medicine for your loved one through Christmas and New Year.
Check Christmas opening hours
If you have support from local services, make sure you know their Christmas operating times. Planning in advance is one of the biggest helps when it comes to alleviating stress.
Stay well and warm
At Christmas when some services you rely on aren’t available, it’s essential to keep not only your loved one warm and healthy but also yourself! Check out your local NHS services for tips on staying warm and well over winter and investigate any financial aid to help with bills.
Don’t do too much
It’s easy to overwhelm yourself, so make a to-do list of what you want to achieve for the following day, even if it’s only one thing. You’ll feel good that you’ve ticked it off.
Ask for help
Share your load. Many hands make light work and if you need 1 hour to yourself to make online orders or even to get ready, ask someone in your bubble or support services (if you can) to stand-in.
Talk to other carers and people living with Epilepsy
Reach out to others and share what’s on your mind. You might find you both have the same conversations going on in your head, and anxiety triggers and stresses.
Plan your Christmas
What do you want your Christmas day to look like for you and your loved one? Don’t overexert yourself or do things to please others. Tell your family and friends what you want to do so you’re all on the same page.
Plan for a seizure
It’s essential that if a seizure occurs, you’ve planned for it and administer immediate first aid, if you can. If you’re attending a Christmas event maybe ask a friend (if you can) to come with you both. It will not only give you some additional help, should you need it – but also another person to enjoy the festive season with.
If there’s an opportunity to have a break and do something for yourself, like grabbing 5 minutes to shut your eyes, coffee in a local café or watching a Christmas film, then do it.
Be kind to yourself
It’s important to remember that this is just another month in the year. You don’t have to please everyone, and you can’t do everything. The only people that matter is yourself and your loved ones. Eat, sleep, and don’t drink too much – apply the 80/20 rule.
We know that this time of year can bring unwanted stress, and we really hope that these small steps mean that you’re prepped to have a wonderful Christmas for both you and your loved ones. If you are struggling, please pick up the phone to someone. You are never alone.