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The holidays are often a joyful time for getting together with loved ones to celebrate the season. However, for caregivers, the holidays can be a time of increased stress. According to data from Canadian caregiver platform, Elizz, 37% of caregivers feel ‘stressed’ or ‘in crisis’ during December – a 10% increase compared to other months. About 45% of caregivers attributed their rising stress to juggling holiday errands with work and caregiving duties. Meanwhile, 15% said they stress about how to include aging parents with health issues in holiday celebrations.
If you’re a caregiver, you deserve to enjoy the holiday season. To help you, we’ve put together our five top tips for managing stress – continue reading to learn more!
1. Simplify the season
Putting too many expectations on yourself can be a cause of stress. So, try resetting your expectations and simplifying the festivities. This could mean having fewer decorations than usual by just putting up a few favourites in key areas. You can simplify gift-giving by ordering items online instead of shopping in person, giving gift cards, or speaking with relatives about paring back the number of gifts you exchange – you never know, this may be a relief for them too! Meals can also be a source of stress, especially when they include multiple different dishes. So, try cutting down the number of sides or consider serving one-pot meals – they’re sure to be just as delicious!
2. Adapt your holiday traditions
Most families have their own unique traditions and it can be difficult to give them up. So, try adapting them instead to make them more manageable. This could mean hosting a smaller family get together with only immediate family rather than a large reunion. Having a movie night instead of a trip to the theatre. Or taking a drive around the neighbourhood to see the holiday lights rather than walking. You might also want to leave some traditions aside entirely this year, so you can free up your schedule and focus your energy on the ones you do decide to do.
3. Ask for help
Sometimes it can feel like the lion’s share of holiday responsibility falls on one person. If that person is usually you – don’t be afraid to ask for help! This might mean asking a family member to host instead of you this year. Or if you do want to host, make it a potluck and ask everyone to each bring a dish.
4. Set time aside for yourself
Selfcare is never selfish, so don’t feel bad about setting aside some time to rest, relax, and take care of your own mental health. Turn your phone off and do whatever helps you unwind – such as going for a walk, listening to music, or doing some gentle yoga. If you’re able to afford it, you might consider hiring a caregiver for a few days or exploring temporary hospice care to give yourself a break.
5. Be kind to yourself
It’s easy to be overly critical of yourself, especially if the festivities haven’t gone exactly as you’d hoped. If you find yourself thinking like this, try to be kind to yourself. Remind yourself of all you’ve done and are doing for your loved one and the special memories you’ve made together.
While the holidays can be a stressful time, they’re also a time for joy and celebration. We hope that these tips help you enjoy the holiday season to the fullest.
The information presented in this blog post is designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information in this post as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for professional counseling care. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.