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All of us can get burnt out. It’s described as a mix of feelings – from being overwhelmed, frustrated, exhausted and drained, all of which affects us emotionally and physically. If you’re looking after someone, these might be feelings you are overly familiar with, only added to by the extra pressures of Christmas and the effects of winter.  

But what can you do to tackle burnout this winter? We’ve gathered some tips to help: 

Reduce the ‘Festive Load’  

On top of your caring role, work demands, or anything else you might have on your growing to-do list, the ‘festive load’ might only be adding to your stress. The Blurt Foundation suggests lightening this load – from agreeing not to send Christmas cards, switching to e-cards, skipping the present wrapping for tissue paper and gift bags and more. They have some great ideas on how you can navigate the Christmas period and hopefully not add too much to your to-do list.  

Read the full blog for their tips here. 

Assemble a team  

When was the last time you asked for help? It can be hard, but don’t struggle alone. Although you might be the only one able to look after your loved one, make sure you have people around that can look after you. Make a list of relatives, friends or colleagues that can be there for you when you need it, whether it’s to vent, talk through things you’re worried about or lend a hand with day-to-day tasks. Many unpaid carers look after their loved ones without anyone else knowing, so make sure you let people know the situation so others can look out for you. 

If you don’t have anyone you can talk to in your personal life, why not give our friendly team a call? You can reach us on 0800 181 4118.  

We also have our Here to Talk service. Sign up for a regular call with a trained volunteer to talk about whatever is on your mind. Find out more about the service here.  

Set boundaries  

As much as it’s important to have a life outside of your caring role, and maybe keep doing the things you may have done before you started caring, setting boundaries is incredibly important for your own wellbeing. Especially at Christmas, we might feel pressured to meet up with everyone and attend festive events – but remember, it’s okay to say no to any requests from others that may drain you rather than lift you up. And don’t feel guilty for letting people know you need some space or time to rest. You could even set times where friends and family know not to contact you, so you have some dedicated time throughout the day for yourself.  

Focus on what brings you joy 

A 2018 survey from Slumber Cloud found that one in three adults suffer from “holiday burnout”, with 36% of those surveyed claiming that that the affliction sets in before mid-December. Some of these feelings are probably down to the pressure to do what you always have done at Christmas, take part in family traditions, or be there for everyone when they need you. But how about refocusing on what you’d like to do this December and over the Christmas period? Remember, it’s YOUR break too, and you get to decide how to spend it.  

Take care of yourself 

If you’re looking after someone, it’s understandable if you forget to think about your own health needs or don’t have time to prioritise them. Many of us can feel low and tired in the winter, and with flu, colds and the added impact of COVID, it’s even more important to make sure we take care of ourselves too. Book in for a flu jab if you haven’t already – If you look after a friend or relative who can’t get by without your help, you will be eligible for the flu vaccine for FREE. COVID Booster jabs are now being offered by the NHS for people most at risk from COVID-19 who have had a 2nd dose of a vaccine at least 3 months ago.  

However you’re spending this Christmas and the winter period, take care. Remember you can contact us on 0800 181 4118 for information, advice and support. You can also find information and advice on our Information Hub.