How to Relieve Caregiver Stress During the Holidays

We’re heading into the holiday season, a time of year that fills many hearts and minds with giddy anticipation. It also can be incredibly stressful. That stress is often amplified for those caring for aging loved ones. Caregivers may have less time and energy than they used to devote to holiday-related tasks but may feel pressured to “do it all” anyway.

Here are our 4 tips for relieving holiday stress.

Consider What’s Meaningful

Most families have a myriad of traditions, but only a handful may be meaningful to you and your aging loved ones. Consider which traditions mean the most to you. Talk to those in your care. Focus on what’s meaningful to each of you and don’t fret about the rest.

Simplify

Once you’ve identified what’s most meaningful, you can direct your energies there. Rather than trying to do everything (and feeling miserable because you can’t do it all), do what’s truly important. You may find you’re just as happy with a few, treasured decorations as you were with a fully decorated house. And you’ll be much less stressed.

Try New Traditions

Sometimes when things change, we focus on what we’ve lost. As an alternative, why not try establishing a new tradition?  Maybe a holiday movie marathon can replace an elaborate meal. Going to a restaurant or making a family holiday meal a potluck can relieve pressure. There are also creative ways to cut back gift-giving costs, like scaling back the number of presents, giving time or attention, or drawing names and exchanging with just one person. 

Ask For/Accept Help

There’s no need for you to suffer in silence and be a martyr. When you’re feeling overburdened, reach out to friends and family for help. And when someone offers assistance, accept it gratefully. You can also build bonds with other caregivers and get their ideas on how to handle the holidays.

The holidays add stress to the already challenging job of caregiving. Use these tips to ease some of that stress so you can enjoy the joys of the season.

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