Recovering from the Stress of the Holidays

Catherine P. Collette MSN RN, Agency Administrator Hebrew Health Visiting Nurses/ Hebrew Health Hospice

Another year has come to a close and with it the holiday season.  The last lingering parties and get-togethers will be coming to an end in the next week or so. With the end of the holiday season comes an end to the added stress they can create.

The whirl wind of parties and activities that are a part of this season are finally over and it feels good to know that life will be returning to normal. There is a strange duality to the season that we look forward to all of the festivities, however the stress of it all can really take its toll. For many of us there is still some clean up to be done. The decorations and lights and seasonal trimmings need to be returned to their storage place.

So now begins the time to recover, depending on how your season went there may be more or less to that.

Decorations need to come down.   Remember they don’t all have to come down in one day. If you don’t have the time in your schedule to do it all at once make a plan to put things a way slowly.

If you are like many of us the holiday season has put you off of your normal schedule. Schedules will be righted and normalcy will return. Take advantage of this return your routine to be sure to rest and recover. The break neck speed of the holidays has probably left many a little sleep deprived; so take the opportunity to schedule time off to reenergize.

The holidays are filled with their fair share of eating, drinking and being merry; however now is the time to return to better eating habits, without candy and other sweets lurking around every corner at the office or at home. If you are left with too many temptations after the holidays try to get rid of them. Exercise is the next step in the process of righting yourself after the holidays. During the frantic pace of the holidays working in regular work outs is difficult. Now that the pace will be slowing it is time to kick into gear on your exercise routines.  If you haven’t been exercising before now, it is a great New Year’s resolution to help improve your health and well being and decreasing your stress.

Take time away from electronic devices. Take a walk in the woods or around the block without music. Take time at home without the television or music and without being in front of a computer screen. This will give you an opportunity to focus on yourself.

Remember to breath. Practicing deep breathing is an easy way to help decrease your stress. Stretching and other gentle exercise that can be done while sitting; this is another way of decreasing your stress.

All these things may help you as you recover from the stress of the holidays.

What are the services of a visiting nurse agency?

Catherine P. Collette MSN RN, Agency Administrator
Hebrew Health Visiting Nurses/Hebrew Health Hospice

People frequently ask what a visiting nurse agency can do for me. With the increasing numbers of home care agencies people often are unclear of what care is provided by each type of agency. Visiting Nurses Agencies or Home Health Care agencies are licensed by the state and certified by Medicare. Primarily a visiting nurse agency provides skilled care for people who are suffering an illness or recovering from surgery. The services of the agency include nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, social worker and home care aide.

As a person is recovering from an illness or surgery if they are unable to leave home to seek medical attention, their physician may order the care of nurses, therapists and home health aides to help them as they recover. Each person admitted to care is assigned a care team to best meet their needs.

Nurses perform assessments, i.e. provide wound care, specialized care needed by each individual, assess people’s vital signs, their home environment, medications, and provide the education necessary. By working with people to help them better understand their disease process, medications and other factors effecting health and well being they can assist people take control of their health.

Therapists assess people’s functional status and the need for equipment. They work to increase people’s independence and safety in the home. Therapists will perform a variety of assessments to determine what plan of care will improve function, strength, endurance and safety. The therapist will implement a home exercise program that people can follow and use in-between scheduled visits to improve status. Speech therapists work with people who are having difficulty with speech, either the ability to form or find words. A speech therapist can also work with people who have difficulty with chewing and swallowing food. They will teach techniques to improve communication and or improve swallowing.

Social workers provide assessment and intervention to help people with long term planning and connecting people to community resources to meet the needs that will continue after skilled care ends. The social worker can also provide short term counseling to help people come to terms with the impact their health status has on their lives.

Home health aides work with patients who are recovering from an illness to assist them with their personal care needs. The aides work under the supervision of the nurse and therapists and follow the plan of care that has been established for the patient. The aides usually work short term with a patient until they have improved enough to manage bathing, dressing, toileting and other personal care tasks on their own.