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Holiday Stress and Caregiving
While everyone else is enjoying the
hustle and bustle and the joy of the holiday season,
there are many caregivers out there who just want the
whole thing over with. Caregiving creates a level of
stress unmatched by most endeavors. Add to that the
extra stress of family gatherings, gift buying, cooking,
and other obligations and it is almost unbearable. How
can caregivers better cope with this stress on top of
The following tips may help you weather the holidays
Start your own tradition. Often we feel bound by past
holiday traditions, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Instead of having 20 family members and guests in your
home, and cooking for all of them, try a different
approach. Suggest that someone else host Passover or
Easter dinner. Or, if your home is the only appropriate
one, enlist the help of friends and relatives for
everything from cleaning to preparing food. A potluck is
a great idea—you can even assign specific dishes to
ensure that a complete dinner is provided.
There are great ways to shop non-traditionally as well.
The Internet is a fantastic way to shop for food and
gifts without leaving home. Another way to shop from
home is using catalogs (many people feel uncomfortable
about putting credit card numbers out in cyberspace). If
you would rather go out, use the catalogs to make lists
of specific gifts for each person. That way you know
exactly where to go and exactly what to get.
Make sure you leave enough time to enjoy the holidays.
It shouldn't be all about the hustle and bustle.
The motto "Everything in moderation" should be your
guide through the holidays. There are many temptations
abundant throughout the season---alcohol, sweets and
rich food. Go ahead. Have some. Just don't over-indulge.
It make make you sick or uncomfortable even through the
Be prepared for unexpected circumstances. Something may
come up, and probably will, so what can you do? If you
can, change the situation. If you can't, accept it and
move on. You cannot control life no matter how planned
out you believe you have things. Laugh a lot...
Try to keep up on your regular exercise routine, or
start one, during the holidays. Walking five times a
week is a great way to stay in shape. There is also
something about pounding the pavement that helps release
frustrations and clears your head. If your looking out
your window and the snow is flurrying and drifting, find
an alternative. Many health clubs have indoor tracks. If
that doesn't appeal to you, check with the nearest
shopping mall. Some open early just for walkers.
Ideally caregivers should have a daily, weekly, monthly
and yearly break.
Daily-Half an hour of yoga, meditation, needlepoint,
Weekly-A couple of hours spent away from the house at
the mall, library, coffeehouse, etc.
Monthly-An evening out with your friends, a play, a
Yearly-A well-planned (and well-deserved) vacation.
Planning ahead for these breaks is imperative. You may
need to arrange for respite care for your loved one.
It can be done. You can care for your loved one, attend
to your daily activities, and enjoy the holidays. We all
do what we can, and nobody should expect more than that
from us. Especially us. Happy Holidays.