Caregiving During the Holidays

by: Kathy Guisewite, Caregivers Community Network Coordinator

My daughter, who adores the Christmas season, once asked her grandpa what he most wanted for Christmas.  Without missing a beat, he said, “January.”  There is no doubt that as delightful as the holiday season may be, it is also often very stressful.  For those who daily work hard to keep pace and do all that must be done, the additions of shopping, cooking, decorating, and holiday traditions can prove to be too much!  This is especially true in our society where the ‘holiday season’ runs from before Halloween through the fireworks of the New Year!

 

As caregivers, we don’t want to dampen the fun, but we can set some nurturing boundaries as our day to day lives continue in the midst of holiday festivities.  The pandemic is also changing our typical holiday celebrations, so why not use this year to make some healthy changes that will lighten the load?  Here are 3 tips that might prove helpful over the next two months:

 

  1. Welcome Simplicity:
  • Instead of 12 dishes for Thanksgiving, offer the basics and really enjoy what you have.
  • Instead of giving the grandest gifts, offer symbols of your love and gratitude.
  • Instead of decorating the house inside and out, pick out your favorite 3 decorations and savor their meaning.

 

  1. Invite an Attitude of Calm:
  • Instead of trying to hurry up and get more done, decide to slow down.  Let go of what isn’t necessary or helpful.
  • Incorporate practices that make you feel better!  Deep breathing, looking at the sky, talking to a friend, naps, giving thanks.
  • Be present with the one in your care… hold hands, tell jokes, look at photographs, share words of love and encouragement.

 

  1. Find the Joy or Make some Joy:
  • Let go of guilt that changes are taking place this holiday season.  Honor what is good in those changes!
  • Extend a kindness to someone who may feel alone.  A small kindness can uplift one in need while also lifting our own spirits!
  • Engage silliness, laughter, and lightheartedness.  Make up games that encourage fun!

 

We tend to do more over the holiday season because we want to show our love.  This year, let’s show our love in ways that allow us to be healthy and whole.  This might truly be the sweetest gift to those we love.