Caregivers – Tips to Manage Holiday Stress

For many of us caregiving, often the holidays bring on more stress and less peace on earth and joy to the world!

If we can follow a few tips, we may be better able to enjoy our holidays.

Tip 1: Set realistic expectations of yourself – You do not have to bake 250 dozen holiday cookies, or put out all the decorations stored in the attic, or attend every holiday function. The holidays aren’t about how fancy decorations or how many holiday treats. It’s about feeling good and spending time with people you care about. Just being present, having a good conversation with a cup of hot cocoa is enough.

Tip 2: Pace yourself and prioritize your activities. Develop a plan, make daily “to do” lists. Place them on your calendar. This will help eliminate last minute “melt downs”. Give yourself permission to do less and enjoy more!

Tip 3: Be sure to take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Be sure to eat healthy meals, drink plenty of water, and get enough sleep! Don’t run on empty. Negative emotions like depression, loneliness or tension with family can surface during the holidays. Acknowledge those feelings instead of pushing them away, these feelings are natural. They may be pointing out the need to slow down or talk to your physician. Don’t be afraid to say no to a few holiday plans.

Tip 4: Plan for some respite time off from your caregiving duties. Have visiting family take charge of your care receiver for a day, plan for a paid respite provider to take over care for several days so that you are able to have some extra time to enjoy yourself. Also if friends offer to help, accept it. If you are caring for another it is still possible to have an enjoyable, less stressful holiday season. The key is to be realistic, do not feel guilty of the things you cannot control and arrange for help so you can take a break. May your Holidays be blessed!

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