by Ariel Kennedy, Hannan Center Social Work Intern
While the holidays can be stressful for everyone, they are especially stressful for caregivers. Here are some tips to help you cope with the holiday stress:
ASK FOR HELP – Adding holiday planning on top of your normal daily tasks is a lot. Ask for help from family members or friends. This could be help with cooking the meal, cleaning, or help with caregiving duties. You might also want to look into caregiving help in the form of adult day centers or respite care programs.
SIMPLIFY – You’re busy enough in your day-to-day life, there’s no reason to go overboard for the holidays! Instead of cooking the whole meal, consider asking people to bring some of the dishes, such as dessert. You might also want to consider having the meal catered. Don’t feel pressured to go all out with the decorations or holiday activities. Instead pick a few things that are really important to you and your family and leave the rest out.
START NEW TRADITIONS – Just because you might not be able to do all of your old traditions doesn’t mean that you can’t make new ones! If cooking a full meal is too much, start the tradition of eating out at a favorite restaurant, or having a potluck. If going out to a movie theater is too difficult, have everyone gather at your home, or the home of a family member to watch a movie. Finding new traditions can help alleviate the loss of old ones.
MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF – It’s easy to feel overwhelmed during the holidays so make sure to set aside some time for yourself. Whether it’s exercising, taking a hot bath, meditation, or catching up on your tv shows, make sure to set some time aside to unwind and take care of yourself.
PLAN AHEAD – Planning ahead will allow you to have more time with your family as well as time for yourself. Take time well before the holiday to plan out your menu and to contact your guests to invite them and let them know if they should bring anything. Having a plan in place will help you see what you may need assistance with and what traditions will be more hassle than they are worth.