The winter holidays are in full swing, and for many, excitement is running high. Unfortunately stress is a common emotion associated with the holidays, and this can be amplified for family caregivers. On top of your already full schedule there are presents to buy, parties to attend, celebrations to plan and family to visit. Ideally you want to enjoy the holidays, not just survive them. Consider these tips to help you and your family make the most of this time together.
- Manage your expectations: The holiday may not be picture-perfect. The turkey may burn, the kids may bicker and mom may not be having a “good day.” Try to find a moment here and there to take a deep breath and regroup. What are the memories you are going to take with you from this day? How can you cherish each moment (even the imperfect ones)?
- Simplify preparations: If mom insists on hosting for the holiday meal can the family use paper plates to cut down on clean up? Can the pies be store-bought this year? Would online shopping be easier than spending your precious Saturdays in overcrowded malls? Consider the different responsibilities the holidays entail and brainstorm with your family on how you can find simplifications for some of them.
- Divvy up tasks: How can you and your family divvy up the to-do lists? So many family caregivers are used to getting things done by themselves and often forget to ask for help. Try not to carry all of the responsibilities on your shoulders. Asking for help means some things may be done slightly differently, but can you make room for alternative approaches?
- Create new traditions: Your dad may live in a nursing home, and as a result Christmas day may not feel the same. Is it possible to create a new tradition in which the family can spend part of the day visiting him? Would music and reminiscing make the visit more festive and lighthearted? Remember to involve the younger generation! They can bring a special energy to the celebration – and remember, one day the caregiving torch will be passed to them so allow them these opportunities to truly understand the interdependencies of family.
The focus of the holidays can quickly become obligations, and this can lead to increased stress and resentment and decreased enjoyment. Allowing yourself the flexibility to scale back from your usual agenda and consider alternative solutions may go a long way in helping you appreciate this time with friends and family. Ultimately, contemplate what you can give to yourself in the next month. Perhaps extra kindness and patience towards yourself will be the most important presents you give this year.
Call 855-772-2730 to speak with a Senior Care Advisor. We look forward to hearing from you and we wish you a wonderful holiday!