holiday stress tips for caregivers

5 Holiday Stress Tips for Caregivers

December 12, 2018

If you’re like a lot of people, you may be placing unrealistic expectations on yourself to make the holidays as perfect as a Normal Rockwell painting. For caregivers who already have a full plate, handling the additional seasonal stress can be overwhelming. According to AARP, 7 out of 10 family caregivers say it is emotionally stressful to care for loved ones during the holidays. 

Here are 5 tips to help manage caregiver holiday stress and make the holiday season more enjoyable.
 
1. Keep it simple
Give yourself permission to take it easy this year. Send a holiday email to friends instead of mailing individual cards. Buy prepared meals and desserts instead of cooking and baking. Downsize on the decorations and display only what you really love.

2. Ask for help
Caregivers may find it hard to ask for help, but planning ahead can help alleviate some stress. Ask family members who might be visiting if they can take a shift while in town or look for resources in the community, such as respite care, that can help do this. Even a single day or evening off can help you recharge.

3. Pamper yourself

Do little things to brighten your day. Splurge on your favorite warm holiday drink. Buy a book you’ve been wanting to read. Schedule a manicure or massage. Call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. It’s amazing how doing one simple thing for yourself can boost your spirits.

4. Count your blessings
Try to appreciate the good things in life. Make it a daily habit by starting a gratitude journal. In a recent study, people who wrote down three good things that happened to them every day reported feeling happier and less depressed. 

5. Have fun
The holidays come around only once a year. Make a plan to attend at least one party or event. Don’t feel guilty, you deserve to have fun, too! With a little planning, you can make it happen.

We hope these tips encourage you to relax and enjoy what really matters this holiday. Remember, if the stress of caring for your loved one is overwhelming and taking a toll on your work or wellbeing year round, it may be time to explore senior living options.