I hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones! I traveled to spend the holiday with family and while making my way through the airports, realized yet again how hectic this time of year can be. We take this time of year to think about our friends and family whether through gifts, greeting cards, special celebrations and annual visits. At the same time, we are balancing responsibilities both personal and professional which may include caregiving duties. We certainly put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be sure everyone is feeling the joy of the holidays. An AARP article reminded me how to keep the joy stress-free during the holidays.
If you are a caregiver, the holidays may add stress to the long list of things you already have to do. These tips from the AARP remind us how to alleviate some of that stress this holiday season:
- Focus on what’s most meaningful
Perfection is not the goal of the holiday. Make the holiday meaningful and joyful. When we are caregivers, there are so many things that are out of our control. Focus on what feels necessary to produce a holiday feeling and create good memories.
- Simplify holiday activities
Remember you don’t have to go all out…the holiday is not an all or nothing event. Select activities that are manageable, for example, if putting out all the decorations feels overwhelming, just put out the ones that are most meaningful.
- Start new traditions
Instead of focusing on losses and what you and/or your loved ones aren’t able to do this year, try doing something new. Or simplify a familiar activity and create meaningful memories!
- Adjust meals
Food is a big part of holiday traditions, but the preparation – not to mention food restrictions, can make for stressful planning. Try slimming down the menu, sharing in the grocery shopping, or even going to someone else’s home or restaurant.
- Approach gift-giving more efficiently
Try online shopping this season and have gifts delivered directly to your loved ones. These are also financially stressed times in our lives, so you may suggest the gift of time and attention. For groups of friends and family, suggest drawing names and limiting gift exchange.
- Anticipate holiday hot buttons
Some families may have friends or relatives that may be critical of someone or trigger unhappy memories. If possible, avoid those gatherings, but if you must attend stay close to the supportive attendees and know that you always have the option to leave early.
- Mind your mindset
Try to stay positive and appreciate what is present.
- Keep self-care at the top of the list
As a caregiver, you give of yourself generously. Be sure to take the time for self-care.
- Connect with other caregivers
Other caregivers are going through similar emotions and stress. If you can, talk to one another about tips and ideas!
- Ask for help
Seek support during this season. Tap resources that may give you an hour or two of free time. Ask family and friends to help with decorations or shopping.
I am always thankful for the blessings I receive from all of you – my network of friends, family and the employees at Amazing Care Network and Sterling Administration. Enjoy your holiday season and thank you for taking care of yourself and one another!
I am looking forward to an AMAZING 2020 with all of you!
~ Cora Tellez, CEO and Founder