Relieving Holiday Stress for Family Caregivers

The holidays are fun, exciting, exhausting, maddening, time challenging, overwhelming, full of unmet expectations and family drama.  For the most part we enjoy the get togethers with family and friends; we don’t enjoy all the stress that comes with it. Self-care is still important at the holidays.

Many caregivers have more stress during the holidays

Stress, it’s the six letter dirty word when it is negative stress.  Can holiday entertaining be less stressful and more enjoyable?  Yes, it really can be less stressful and quite enjoyable.  What are the two things that are most important to you?  Focus on those two things and be flexible with everything else. With a few adapted holiday preparations, everyone can have a fun time. 

We all have a picture in our minds of “how it should be,” or “how we want it to be?”  Now, wake up from that dream and look at reality.  It is not going to be that way.  Why?  Because everyone else has their own dreams and ideas of the way it should be too.  Get rid of the “have to’s” and “shoulds.”  Make your own new traditions.  Can you give up your perfectionism for being fully present?  Will you be open to the possibility that whatever you choose to do or not do will be good enough?  Delegate some of the cooking, use paper plates and plastic utensils, and keep menu choices limited to the basics.  No talking of politics, religion or personal family issues.  It is neither the time nor the place.  Lower your expectations and go with the flow.

Enjoy the Holidays

Have outdoor games and indoor games available; enjoy just sitting and talking or watching something on television together.  It does not matter that holiday is not celebrated on the actual calendar day.  We celebrate Thanksgiving on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  It works for us and we are all together, watching football, playing with the Nerf guns, wrestling, playing a board game, doing a jigsaw puzzle or playing Disney’s Scene It.  Really, we are just enjoying each other for a couple of days.

I know the holidays are a busy time and we can’t get rid of all the stress, but we can decrease it quite a bit if we are open to the possibility that we can enjoy just being together above all else.

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