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Caregivers – 5 Ideas to Help Make the Holidays Less Stressful

Caregivers – 5 Ideas to Help Make the Holidays Less Stressful
According to the Family Caregiving Alliance, “Family caregivers spend an average of 24.4 hours per week providing care. Nearly 1 in 4 caregivers spends 41 hours or more per week providing care.” When you try to layer on holiday decorating, activities, gift procuring and all the emotional pressure, it can be too much for anyone. We have a few tips to possibly help make the holidays a little easier for the caregivers out there.

Don’t Buy into the Holiday Hype

The holidays are supposed to be a time for families to come together and enjoy each other. Because of the media, and companies trying to boost sales, it’s become a maelstrom of spending money and trying to create picture perfect moments. If you have 15 annual holiday traditions, consider this year paring it down to 8.

Reduce your load deliberately and then make your choices count! Choose the most important decorations, the most important memory making moments and stick with those – and let the function of the older adult or person for whom you are caring guide you in those choices. Choose homey, easy events that can bring joy to everyone without putting a ton of tasks and logistics on your own plate.

Share the Load

The holidays are a time of family connection and connecting to your community. All too often, people forget that community starts at home with our own families. If you have other family local that can also help out with caregiving, help them understand what opportunities there are to help and enable them to jump in and connect with your loved one AND give you a night or an afternoon off. While I know you may not want one more task, create a calendar and let people opt in for family activities and time for individual connection. They will appreciate the opportunity and you can get some downtime!

Don’t look at Pinterest!

And you know why! The most important part of the holidays is the time you spend with your loved one. Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself to make things look a certain way – and focus on traditions you already have instead of trying to fit in new ideas that may require more work or planning (and therefore pressure on you!).

Prioritize Self Care

Everyone says this and then people either ignore it or reply with a “but…” Seriously, when they tell you on the airplane to put your oxygen mask on first, they are doing that, so you can help others. Take 10 minutes a day to do a guided meditation on your phone, add 5 minutes to your shower and just breathe, fit in the yoga class, have your cup of coffee solo in the morning, eat well and get a lot of sleep. And say no, sometimes. You are working really hard and managing a lot and it’s ok.

Take Advantage of Services

In almost every town or area around a city, there are services specifically for seniors – whether it’s a senior center, or organized lunches and activities. Many of these even include transportation. Make sure you explore options for the older adult in your life to socialize independently. They can make new friends, experience the joy of independence and you don’t have to do the heavy lifting.

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