How Caregivers Can Navigate Holiday Stress

Navigating the demands of the holidays can be tough for family caregivers. These tips can help you find ways to beat stress during this festive time of year.

A woman holding shopping bags looking stressed.

For caregivers, what is often considered the most wonderful time of year can actually be very stressful. The challenges of caring for a loved one who has a chronic illness or whose health is declining may make the hectic pace of the holidays overwhelming. The result can be a weary, stressed-out caregiver. That makes the holidays anything but joyful.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to enjoy a happier holiday season. If you are a caregiver looking for ways to make the season more manageable this year, we have a few ideas you might find useful.

4 Tips for Beating Holiday Caregiver Stress

  1. Downsize your expectations.
    Most of us have a vision in mind of how the holidays should be. We think we need a Pinterest-perfect Christmas tree, beautifully wrapped gifts, and meals that look worthy of a Food Network show. But when you are a caregiver, achieving those goals can be very unrealistic, especially if you have a family or work outside the home.
    It may help to remind yourself that you won’t be a caregiver forever. Now is the time to enjoy your loved one and the moments you have together.
  2. Simplify holiday celebrations.
    Another way to enjoy the holidays without getting overwhelmed is by temporarily scaling back on some of your traditions. For example, if you’ve always hosted a large, formal cocktail party for friends and family, try to reduce the size of the gathering and the menu this year. Explain to everyone that you need to keep it simple while you are busy caring for your family member.
    You could also consider hosting events where guests contribute to the festivities. A potluck or a cookie exchange is much easier to arrange, while still giving loved ones an opportunity to gather and celebrate.
  3. Skip holiday shopping at the mall.
    When time is plentiful, the hustle and bustle of a festively decorated shopping mall may be fun. For stressed-out caregivers, that may not be the case. From battling to find a parking space to long checkout lines, the mall can be taxing for a weary caregiver. If you shop online instead, take advantage of stores that offer free shipping. For more unique gifts, shop local stores and boutiques. You’ll have the added benefit of knowing you are helping friends and neighbors who are small business owners.
  4. Give yourself permission to ask for help.
    As a caregiver, you work hard tending to your loved one’s needs all year. During the holidays, it’s important to pause, celebrate the season, and spend time catching up with friends and family members. If you want to enjoy a night out at a holiday party or event but don’t have anyone to stay with your loved one, consider using respite care. These services are offered by most home care agencies and assisted living communities. They are designed to give the caregiver a few hours or even a few weeks to step back from their duties and take care of themselves.

Respite Care at The Wesley Community

If you live in the Saratoga Springs area and would like to learn more about respite care during the holidays, please call us at (518) 587-3600. One of our experienced team members will be happy to answer your questions and set up a private tour of our community.